Meet the apprentices! A chat with Seymour Civil Engineering’s new faces

Apprenticeships are key to developing our future workforce. That’s the message from the Government which at the beginning of October invested an extra £90m into backing businesses to take on apprentices.
 
Here we chat to two brand new apprentices at Seymour Civil Engineering, about their experiences. 
 
Taking on apprentices can help drive forward businesses, says Andrea Cartwright, Training Manager at Seymour Civil Engineering.
 
She believes that apprentices finish their qualification work ready and gain real, on-the-job insight into their chosen field of study.
 
This is particularly relevant, says Andrea, given the skills shortage in the construction sector across the country.
 
Seymour has recently taken on two apprentices, and here we chat to them about their experiences so far.
 
Name: Nicole Gray
Age: 16
From: Manor Academy, Hartlepool
Role: Business Administration Apprentice
Qualification: Level 2 Business Administration, Hartlepool College of Further Education
 
“I’ve been looking for an apprenticeship since the beginning of Year 11 because I was really interested in going down that route instead of going to college full time.
 
I’ve started in the accounts department and it’s been eye-opening to see the process in a business the size of Seymour. There’s a lot to it, a lot more than I expected.
 
The role involves rotations around the different departments so I get a taste of every area, how the areas all fit together and a chance to see what area I like the most and may want to work in specifically.
 
In the second year I get the chance to decide where I want to stay.
 
I think this way of doing it is important because you get to understand the company and the different aspects of what each department does.
 
I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do after school, and if I’d gone to college full time I would have ended up picking a subject because I liked it, not necessarily because there would be a career for me within it.
 
The apprenticeship gives you the work experience whilst gaining the qualification. It gives you the chance to get stuck in to the proper world of working and develop your communications and people skills.
 
The team that I’ve been working with has been great. They go through everything in lots of detail so I fully understand it.
 
I think it’s great to be able to go to college and to meet new people but I really like working full time and keeping busy. I’m in college on a Tuesday from 9am to 5pm.
 
I expected the college side to be really difficult. Now after three weeks, I think I’d built it up to be harder than it is. I now have a practical understanding of what is being talked about.
 
Apprenticeships are a good option for people who aren’t sure what they want to do long term. You get paid while you’re doing it as well.
 
Business admin covers a lot of different aspects and having experience in all these areas will help me in the future.
 
I feel it’s going to open a lot of doors for me.”
Name: Callum Downing
Age: 18
From: Northfield School and Sports College, Billingham
Role: Heavy Vehicle Fitter
Qualification: Level 3 Heavy Vehicle Repair and Maintenance, Hartlepool College of Further Education
 
“I’ve always been interested in cars and mechanics and for the past two years I’ve been doing Motor Vehicle Level 1 and 2 at Stockton Riverside College.
 
I wanted to build on what I’d already learnt which is why I was interested in moving on to do the Level 3 through an apprenticeship.
 
The apprenticeship is giving me the experience of working in a garage environment whilst learning at college.
 
The team around me have been showing me how to do different roles. I like learning about mechanics on the bigger plant equipment they have at Seymour.
 
I’ve started off working in one of the vehicle maintenance yards in Hartlepool, where plant equipment and vans come in and out every day and further into the apprenticeship I will get the opportunity to work from sites too.
 
I spend one full day in college a week. On a Wednesday I’m in from 9am until 8pm which gives me plenty of time to get everything done that I need.
 
My apprenticeship means I’m either at college or at work, always learning and getting used to the working environment.
 
You learn a lot more when you get to stuck in to it practically.
 
Taking the theory and putting it in to practice helps it sink it and helps you understand it a lot more.”
 
Apprenticeship Facts

 

  • On October 1 the Government announced a package of reforms to ensure the Apprenticeship Levy provides people with the skills they need to succeed.
  • The changes are aimed at providing flexibility for businesses so they can take full advantage of the benefits of employing apprentices, and to help as many people as possible find the right training to equip them for the new economy.
  • An extra £90 million of Government funding will enable employers to invest a quarter of their apprenticeship funds on people working for businesses in their supply chain – boosting the number able to benefit from high-quality apprenticeship training.
  • A further £5 million was announced for the Institute for Apprenticeships to introduce new standards and updating existing ones so that more courses can be offered – meaning more choice for those considering their training options.

 

 

Construction firms join forces to bring history to life in Sunderland

A team of specialist construction companies are making history by conquering the delicate job of restoring a 600-year-old castle ruin.

 

Seymour Civil Engineering has been brought in by principal contractor William Birch to help carry out the painstaking work of transforming Hylton Castle in Sunderland into a visitor and learning centre.

 

The £4.5 million project is a partnership between local community group, Castle in the Community and Sunderland City Council and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The site is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and the castle itself is a Grade I Listed Building in the guardianship of English Heritage. The project will rejuvenate the site for locals and visitors alike. Once open, it will be managed with and for young people and offer training and internship opportunities.

 

Andy Mountford, Site Manager at Seymour Civil Engineering said: “Hylton Castle is a magnificent building and we’re really proud to be working alongside William Birch to bring it back to life as both an historic attraction and a hub for the community.

 

“Due to the nature of the project, the work has been far from run of the mill, largely because of the archaeological significance of the site and the effect this has had on our work programme as we carry out all the groundworks.

 

“Working closely with a team of archaeologists has certainly brought with it a fair few challenges, as you don’t know what you’re going to uncover as you go.

 

“However, this has made working on the project really exciting and the team on site has adapted incredibly well to the situation, showing lots of ingenuity and professionalism when overcoming changes in circumstance and planning for what comes next.”

 

Brought in as the civil engineering contractor for the project, Seymour Civil Engineering has completed the groundworks for the restoration, laying the surface trenches in the grounds of the castle for the electricity, water and the ground source heat pumps for the castle’s geothermal energy, as well as the car park and footpaths.

 

Inside the castle, Seymour has facilitated the installation of ground beams, and will cast the concrete floors for all three levels, as well as the roof and a mezzanine floor.

 

The main contractor for the project, William Birch, is a building and restoration company based in York, specialising in heritage projects.

 

Simon Hills, William Birch’s Site Manager for the project said: “Transforming the 14th century Castle to a living, working building that benefits the local community and visitors has so far been an invigorating experience. The interest from the local community has been incredible and we have been proud to show many of them the project as it develops. They have waited a long time to see the castle come back to life and we are looking forward to unveiling the completed project in 2019”

 

“Working on buildings that are as nationally significant as Hylton Castle brings an abundance of challenges, challenges that the project team have had to really pull together to overcome.

 

“Seymour has had a tall order with this project, as it has been predominately the groundworks which has been affected by the need for close archaeological monitoring.

 

“The team are real specialists at what they do and they’re great engineers who are brilliant at their job and have acted really professionally throughout the bumps and halts of the project.”

 

Andy added: “Working with William Birch has been a real pleasure, and the two teams have gelled incredibly well. Working hand-in-hand on a difficult job like this is of the upmost importance and having an effective working partnership means we’ve been able to sit down and quickly find solutions to any changes that come about.”

 

As one of the North East’s leading civil engineering contractors, Seymour Civil Engineering is no stranger to projects of this nature.

 

In partnership with Hartlepool Borough Council, Seymour Civil Engineering worked on the strengthening of the historic, 14th century Hartlepool Headland Town Wall. The firm worked closely with archaeologists to excavate original wall cladding, and developed the craftsmanship to ensure the new wall carefully matched to the original.