National Apprenticeship Week 2023
05 Feb 2023
It’s National Apprenticeship Week! At National Highways we offer a wide range of apprenticeships and we work closely with our supply chain partners to offer opportunities on a range of projects throughout the country. Apprenticeships include engineering, traffic management, surveying and construction as well as business, finance, HR and communications.
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There are lots of routes you can take to begin a career in construction and engineering. On this page we’ll share advice and information to help you choose the right apprenticeship. You’ll also be able to read real-life stories and experiences from apprentices old and new.
On this page:
“Apprenticeships have so many benefits. You have a full time job, you get paid a salary and you get experience that you would not get at university. It's just so much better and you are so much more capable afterwards”
That’s what Emily, a Trainee Site Engineer on our M42 junction 6 upgrade scheme has said about her apprenticeship journey so far. Emily recently received the Apprentice of the Year “Highly commended” Award at the 2022 Highways Awards.
We recently caught up with Emily on-site and you can listen to our interview, where she talks more about her role and apprenticeship, here:
We offer a wide range of opportunities at National Highways and our apprenticeship applications are now open. You’ll find all the information you need on our dedicated careers webpage and you can download a copy of our programme:
Did you know….?
Our apprenticeship opportunities include roles in:
- Project Management
- Business Administration
- Marketing and Social Media
- Data Analysis
- Business Analysis
- Transport Planning
Ben is 22 and started a level 4 apprenticeship in PR and communications at National Highways in September 2022. After a year at University he decided to change direction and start his apprenticeship.
“I was definitely more on the English and creative writing side at school and then for my A’ levels, I did English Language and History. So I tried to focus more on writing and creative subjects because that was what I was better at. I remember researching careers that could involve writing, creative writing, how to communicate and express your ideas. And PR and communications was a career that kept coming up and the more I looked into it, the more I thought it could be for me.
“I went to University for a year and I didn't really enjoy it. I wasn't really engaging a lot with the course. What I was studying wasn't really applicable to anything in my real life or to anything that I thought I wanted to do when I left University, which was quite, I guess, demoralising and demotivating. I wanted to study something that I could do practically and I could study something like once a week and then use practically in my day-to-day work. That's why I was thinking about an apprenticeship.
“When I was searching for an apprenticeship in communications, a few different ones came up. But the one with National Highways just really stood out because it's such a major company and important part of the UK. And I thought that I really wanted to work for a big company where stuff was having a big impact. National Highways was the perfect example of this.”
Since starting last year, Ben’s been getting hands-on experience with our scheme on the A428 which will improve journeys between Milton Keynes, Bedford and Cambridge. It’s involved public engagement events, website updates – and archaeology!
“One of the things that I've been focusing on since I started is social media and engaging with the public, answering their questions on Facebook and Twitter. I’ve also been helping to create leaflets and material that has been used at public information events and I’ve been writing posts on our dedicated scheme page with updates about what's happening.
“Before any roads are built, we need archaeology surveys to be carried out, obviously, for historical significance. So, it’s been interesting working with them, trying to find out stories from them about anything that we can communicate with the public that might be of interest and then using that to put into digestible information for the public on our website and social media.
“I like the fact that the work I do with National Highways helps with my apprenticeship and also vice versa. The work that I do on my apprenticeship helps with the work I'm doing at National Highways."
We’ve put together five top tips from our apprentices and graduates:
1/ “Get stuck in and don’t be afraid to ask questions. People in the workplace will always help you”
2/ “Know what you want to do before you apply. If there’s something that you enjoy doing, there will more than likely be an apprenticeship for it, or something similar in that field”
3/ “Apply for lots of apprenticeships. It’s quite competitive so keep your options open”
4/ “If you’re keen and enthusiastic, find and make friends with people who have the same mindset. You’re all striving for the same thing and you’ll all end up with success”
5/ “Ask a lot of questions – you don’t know what you don’t know”
Josh is an Integration Manager for Major Projects at National Highways. He studied an apprenticeship in civil engineering with his local council in 2012. Read how his apprenticeship journey has shaped his career over the last 11 years.
“I did a lot of general GCSEs when I was at school, but wasn't sure what to do next. I wasn't particularly attracted to carrying on to further education as it just wasn't for me.
“Before finding my apprenticeship, I didn't really know what civil engineering was. If you asked most teenagers, I reckon they wouldn't have a clue either! So I did a bit of reading up on it because I saw it as an opportunity, as a long term career. It interested me and I thought it was a field where I could make a difference.
“The most valuable skills I learnt were how to manage my own workload and how to prioritise things. When I was in my apprenticeship, I planned what I was going to do every day. But then when I'd land at my desk, there'd be a million other things going on and I learnt very quickly how to identify what's important and what isn't, and how to shuffle tasks around to make everything work. Learning that skill was stressful at times, but it was all good and a massive learning experience that I use all the time now.
“The very first project that I worked on was a scheme to replace a traffic light crossing which was literally two minutes’ walk away from my house. It was a crossing that I'd used many, many times as a kid growing up. We completed the project and switched it on, on Christmas Eve. It felt like such an accomplishment. I still drive past it now and think that's the first job I ever did and it makes me feel proud.”
Head over to our dedicated careers webpage where you can find more information and download a copy of our apprenticeship programme: