The blending of practical skills and higher education under a degree apprenticeship has been praised by two employees at a Welsh construction firm as a vital way of gaining a footing within the industry.
Tom Hewitt and Megan Hughes from Bodelwyddan-based Wynne Construction have both undertaken degree apprenticeship courses, and to celebrate this year’s National Apprenticeship Week, they have shared their stories.
Degree apprenticeships form an important part of Wynne Construction’s career development, with the company providing opportunities for study through its commitment to the next generation as part of the Wynne Futures Foundation.
Tom, who works as a full-time trainee quantity surveyor, is currently studying a BSc in Quantity Surveying at Liverpool John Moores University.
Attending university one day per week, Tom has found the practical, site-based experience at Wynne integral to solidifying his classroom knowledge.
Since starting his apprenticeship in August, Tom has been working on a range of North Wales projects, including the £4m design and build of the Queen’s Market in Rhyl, assisting with reporting including project cash flows and site compliance.
Tom said: “It’s been fantastic to be able to split time between university and work on site, applying the theoretical aspects learnt at university with actual practice.
“Having previously undertaken work experience elsewhere, Wynne’s approach to ensuring continual personal development has been hugely important in building up my skillset, and the team has always been available to help me gain a better understanding of aspects of the role on a day-to-day basis.
“Not only has the apprenticeship helped me get a foot in the door within the industry, but it has also encouraged me to learn as much as possible with Wynne, go further within the industry to achieve all I can.”
While design manager Megan Hughes completed her degree apprenticeship at another company, she found the blend of practical and theoretical experience vital to help better understand the day-to-day activities and requirements of her role.
The combination of skills built as part of her degree apprenticeship through the BSc of Architectural Design Technology course at Wrexham Glyndŵr University helped Megan hit the ground running in her new job with Wynne Construction.
With a passion for the field of building information modelling (BIM) leading to further study and a MSc from the University of Barcelona, Megan was drawn to Wynne thanks to its strong commitment of utilising BIM principles on all designs.
Megan said: ”In a constantly changing industry, it has been crucial to learn how to merge the theory studied with real-world examples, and a degree apprenticeship opened the door for me in so many ways.
“With my strong skillset, which can be traced back to initial experience through my degree apprenticeship, I am really pleased to have joined a company which is so passionate about professional development.
“Being able to also exercise my knowledge of the area of BIM, which I learnt through my degree and additional studies, has been incredibly rewarding. It means I am able to assist with projects which will be hugely important to the local communities on completion.”
Through the Wynne Futures Foundation, Wynne Construction aims to facilitate more than 100 work experience placements and 250 apprenticeships across the company and the wider supply chain by 2025.
Chris Wynne, managing director at Wynne Construction, said: “We are committed to ensuring the future generation of young people joining the industry have the opportunity to develop their skills, and degree apprenticeships are an important aspect of this.
“I’m pleased that through the Wynne Futures Foundation, we can offer these type of opportunities as it provides a strong base from which to provide continuing growth well into the future.
“Tom and Megan’s stories are a shining example of the benefits such an experience can bring, and I strongly urge anyone considering their next step to reach out and see how we can help build your career.”
Wynne Construction operates throughout Wales and the North West of England, and regularly leads on projects in sectors including education, healthcare, social housing, and sport and leisure.
The company is also on the North Wales Construction Partnership (NWCP), Pagabo’s Medium Works Framework, the South-East and mid-Wales Collaborative Construction Framework (SEWSCAP3) and the South West Wales Regional Contractors Framework (SSWRCF).