National Apprenticeship Week - Interview with Jonny Hill
10 Feb 2023
Our second interview as part of this year's National Apprentice week where we chat to Jonny, who's career at National Highways is going from strength to strength after completing his apprenticeship.
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What role are you doing now, and how did the apprenticeship ready you for it?
I’m now a Route Manager covering the strategic road network in Somerset & part of Devon, which makes me responsible for stakeholders within this patch as well as promoting opportunities for improvements at various levels. The apprenticeship required me to complete a number of assignments and modules which meant I had opportunities to work with several different teams in different departments in order to get the necessary exposure. This gave me a strong oversight of the workings of my directorate and the wider organisation which has been really useful as my current role requires lots of engagement across the business.
Now you've finished your apprenticeship, how would you summarise the experience?
I think on the whole it was definitely a positive experience. The combination of work and apprenticeship assignments meant that most weeks were pretty varied. The chance to work with, and support, various different teams was a real opportunity to understand what areas were of interest and how I could best set myself up to work in these areas once the apprenticeship had finished. My manager was also really supportive in ensuring I had sufficient time alongside the day job to complete the work which needed to be signed off.
What were some of the skills or key learning moments that it provided you with?
The 2 years provided an awful lot of learning moments, some of which I don’t think I even appreciated or realised until I put these skills into practice further down the line. Managing and prioritising competing workloads is definitely something that it helped with given the need to meet both apprenticeship deadlines and complete work that colleagues needed in order to complete often business critical activities. Coming into the organisation also brought a real shift in mindset from school and other jobs as to the need to bring solutions rather than just issues to more senior colleagues.
What was your proudest moment?
It would probably be either helping to organise an Open Day for the region soon after I joined, or providing support during the ‘beast from the east’. These were both great examples of people with different expertise coming together to get things sorted which is always satisfying.
How do you think it'll add value to your career long term?
The fact its given me a recognised qualification as well as a lot of softer skills should hopefully add value to my career moving forward. Also by doing an apprenticeship you’re likely to start in a business earlier than if you’d gone down alternative avenues. As such, there’s more time to build a network and understand the workings of the organisation which feels beneficial.
This was your advice last year for anyone thinking about an apprenticeship at National Highways -
I’d definitely recommend looking into it. Highways England offers a range of opportunities from administration, to project management and more technical roles. There are so many areas of work and doing an apprenticeship is a good way of gaining exposure to lots of these before specialising.
Is there anything you'd add now you've finished it?Luckily I think that advice remains accurate at the moment! The organisation is so varied which means there are opportunities in areas you might not even realise you’re interested in yet and an apprenticeship is a great way of finding out what does and doesn’t take your fancy. Growing up I certainly didn’t envisage working in this sector but get a lot of satisfaction out of the work we undertake.
You can read our previous interview with Jonny here - https://nationalhighways.co.uk/our-roads/south-west-news/south-west-apprentice-jonny-hill/ and find out more about our graduate, placements and apprenticeships here - https://careers.nationalhighways.co.uk/graduates-placements-and-apprenticeships/