Local apprentices start work on the project

The diverse group includes school leavers, a qualified teacher and an ex-bank manager - all recruited from the local area

Local apprentices start work on the project

Published

19 Oct 2021

Today (Wednesday 20 October) we’ve unveiled the first group of local apprentices to have started work on the ambitious Lower Thames Crossing project, with all of them recruited from the local area.

The eight new apprentices took up their roles following a local recruitment drive that saw almost 100 applications from Kent, Essex and Greater London. The diverse group includes school leavers, a qualified teacher and an ex-bank manager. They are studying project management Higher National Certification qualifications, equivalent to a Foundation Degree and Degree level quantity surveying, all while being paid a salary and gaining valuable on-the-job experience.

The proposed Lower Thames Crossing is the most ambitious road project in the UK in over 30 years. If given the green light it would improve journeys and drive economic growth, as well as play an important role in the region's recovery by supporting over 22,000 jobs during its construction. This includes hundreds of opportunities for apprenticeships, graduateships, training and career changes.

"I’m now one month into a new apprenticeship and have been delighted by the support and knowledge I’ve been exposed to so far"
Nina Weatherly, Apprentice Project Manager, Lower Thames Crossing

Nina Weatherly, former teacher, now Apprentice Project Manager for the Lower Thames Crossing said:

“I chose to apply for this apprenticeship for a number of reasons, personal circumstances changing, children grown up, Covid making me reassess values in life and wanting to use a degree I studied so hard for in geography. I always wanted to be a teacher for which I gave 23 years of my career life. I’m now one month into a new apprenticeship and have been delighted by the support and knowledge I’ve been exposed to so far. I would encourage anyone looking for a challenge or change in direction to explore this pathway and road to a better future.”

project management apprentices
Nina Weatherly (right) pictured here with quantity surveying apprentice Anna Prescott (left)
"This group’s diversity exemplifies what we want to achieve in our local communities, by supporting those of all ages and backgrounds"
Matt Palmer, Lower Thames Crossing Executive Director

Matt Palmer, Lower Thames Crossing Executive Director, said:

“We’re building for the future at the Lower Thames Crossing, connecting people to jobs and businesses to customers. We need a diverse workforce with new ideas and energy to help us design, build, and operate it in a way that will bring the most benefit to the local community and UK. These apprentices will play a vital role in helping us deliver this transformational project.

“This is one of the first of many new opportunities to bring local people and local businesses new jobs, new training and new work. This group’s diversity exemplifies what we want to achieve in our local communities, by supporting those of all ages and backgrounds into fulfilling jobs.”

"Apprenticeships are an excellent way to help young people into work, or assist existing members of staff with furthering their careers"
Shellina Prendergast, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, Kent County Council

Shellina Prendergast, Kent County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said:

“Kent County Council is a strong advocate for apprenticeships and we offer a wide variety of placements working for the local authority as well as supporting other businesses to take on apprentices by sharing our apprenticeship levy. Apprenticeships are an excellent way to help young people into work, or assist existing members of staff with furthering their careers, as well as being a fantastic way for organisations to gain high quality employees.

“We wish all the National Highways apprentices the best of luck with their qualifications and their future careers.”

The group are the first to be employed into the project’s skill programme which aims to support thousands of local jobs, and through traineeships, work placements and engagement with students and teachers, leave a genuine legacy of skills within the community. Earlier this year we worked with local schools in Kent and Essex to create new educational Minecraft games designed to inspire young people to consider a career in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

We are already recruiting for four new Project Management graduates to join us next September 2022. The application deadline closes on Wednesday 27 October.

The new and future apprentices will support the project as it progresses through its development phase, and if granted planning permission, support its delivery. We are currently analysing over 3,000 responses from the recent Community Impact Consultation, which will help further develop our Development Consent Order application for permission to build and operate the Lower Thames Crossing.

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