My Amey apprenticeship: I really feel like I’m personally contributing to the difference we’re making.

Taking the leap from school to the working world can be daunting. But choosing an apprenticeship that offers real life work experience combined with opportunities to continue studying can be a perfect bridge.

Aged 16, at school, we have to ask permission to leave the classroom but at the same time, we’re expected to make career decisions that are potentially going to affect the rest of our lives.

This is where an apprenticeship comes in, and especially one with Amey. Until I applied for the apprenticeship I had always worked in retail but I’d decided I wanted a completely different career path with new challenges, to gain experience and knowledge in a new field.

An insight into real work

After being accepted onto an Amey apprenticeship, I was put on a programme to complete both a technical certificate in my area of work and an NVQ, as well as given the opportunity to complete the Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Gold Business Award. These, combined with the day-to-day work on the job, gave me an idea of a real life working environment.

When I first started at Amey I was part of the structures design team, working on a major highways maintenance contract in Southern England. I mainly assisted on the design drawings, learning and practicing how to use AutoCAD, as well as helping out with site visits and inspections. This was hands-on work, combined with training of technical skills.

Since I have been at Amey, I have completed a BTEC level 3 Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment, a BTEC Level 3 NVQ in Construction Contracting Operations and the DofE Gold Business Award. As well as the education aspect, Amey has provided me with opportunities to attend Apprenticeship Support and Knowledge (ASK) sessions and training days. I also participate in International Women in Engineering days, community involvement days and GATS (Graduates, Apprentices, Technicians) meetings. There have been so many great opportunities.

Volunteering as part of my apprenticeship

As part of the Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) award I spent a lot of time volunteering and raising money for Cancer Research UK, taking part in the Pretty Muddy 5k run. I also put myself forward to be a DofE ambassador, which involved attending training days, public speaking opportunities and encouraging new apprentices to apply to take part in the DofE programme.

Meeting a footballing legend and an Olympic medallist

I was lucky enough to attend the 10th anniversary of the Peace and Sport International Forum in Monaco where I met sports stars including Didier Drogba and I even interviewed Marlene Harnois, a taekwondo Olympic medallist. Since then, I have become involved in fundraising events to raise 3000 euros for one of the forum projects.

Support throughout your apprenticeship

Amey has given me constant support throughout my time here, encouraging me to step out of my comfort zone and reach my full potential. My personal development reviews are well thought through and my line manager makes an effort to understand where I want to go and gives me confidence to push myself forward.

I am currently a trainee technician on the Highways design team, working on the Gloucestershire contract. I am also working towards the BTEC level 4 HNC in Construction and the Built Environment, the BTEC Level 4 NVQ in Construction and Building Services Management and Supervision and my EngTech professional review. This is funded through the apprenticeship levy. Next, I want to take a degree in Construction Project Management.

A great opportunity to develop yourself

My apprenticeship has given me the opportunity to learn on the job, gain qualifications and step out of my comfort zone to progress and achieve my goals – putting what I’m learning at college into practice in the workplace. I’ve been given the confidence to do things I never thought I could do.

Working for a company that creates better places for people to live, work and travel is really rewarding. We’re improving local areas for communities and it really feels like I’m personally contributing to the difference we’re making.

Holly Welch