Sean Keyes, MD of Sean Keyes, MD of civil & structural engineering firm Sutcliffe, shares his thoughts on the importance of the National Apprenticeships Scheme and how Sutcliffe are going above and beyond to unearth the next generation.
Having joined the company 1990, five years after starting a YTS, shortly after our current director William Baldwin did, I have always had an incredibly close allegiance to training, mentoring and nurturing the future generation in our industry, as have all of our senior team.
Mine and Billy’s stories aren’t uncommon here though, with there being numerous success stories over the years of school, college and university leavers that have walked through our doors at Sutcliffe low on confidence and experience, and left months, years and in many cases decades later as new men and women, ready to take on the world.
At Sutcliffe we take real care in the progression of our apprentices and despite this week (7 – 13 February) being Apprenticeship Week, it is crucial that we remember to recognise and celebrate our youngsters 52 weeks a year, as these are the engineers, CAD technicians and building surveyors of the future.
In a lot of workplaces, apprentices can be seen as an inconvenience, a burden on time and resources or simply a box ticking exercise that’ll generate positive PR and CSR, however while apprentices are seen in this way, the whole culture of the sector will never change and that is another reason why we see our apprentices as a continuation of our ‘office family’, as well as a crucial component towards the success of Sutcliffe both in the office and on-site.
The construction sector that I joined four decades ago has changed drastically to the modern day, and with technology, state-of-the-art programming and new modern methods of construction now the staple of every project up and down the country, it is our youngsters with their fresh outlook on work and life, that is educating and helping our older engineers that have earned their stripes using the more ‘old-school’ ways of completing tasks.
I’d like to again say a huge thank you to our current apprentices and our former graduates that have made Sutcliffe a place that people want to learn, grow and work at, and as we gear up to welcome more apprentices throughout 2022 and beyond, I am looking forward to seeing the future Sean Keyes, William Baldwin’s and Jacqui Johnson’s bursting onto the scenes and taking our company and the sector as a whole to the next level.