A new apprenticeship scheme that is giving young people new skills and helping to improve Southampton’s roads is proving to be a huge success.
The Balfour Beatty Living Places Craft Apprenticeship is a three year scheme run by Balfour Beatty Workplaces - who are responsible for maintaining and improving the roads and pavements in Southampton - in partnership with Southampton City Council.
Six new apprentices have been recruited this year to work alongside professionals on Southampton’s highways, and gain the practical skills they need for successful long-term careers in this field.
The apprenticeship scheme entitles each apprentice to 70 days off-site practical training over two years, with the opportunity to complete an NVQ Diploma Level 2 in Highway Maintenance operations. The rest of the apprenticeship is spent working on site, gaining experience and improving their newly-gained practical skills.
Leader of Southampton City Council, Councillor Royston Smith, said: “The apprenticeship scheme is a great initiative that aims to get young people into employment. We are all aware of the high number of young people between 16 - 24 years old who are currently not in education, employment or training and are actively tackling the issue.
"Not only are we offering training and employment to these young people, but we’re also ensuring we are getting them working in an area which we know is top of our resident’s priorities - improving the state of the city’s roads and pavements.”
Robert Whyte, 23, who started as Highways Maintenance Craft Apprentice back in September is looking forward to a bright future. He said: “I heard about the apprenticeship through a friend who completed the scheme three years ago and now works full time for the highways maintenance team.
“What I most enjoy about the job is the reactive side of it. If we get a call to say a manhole cover is sticking up in the road, we’ll respond and go and fix it.
"I want to work my way up as quickly as I can. I’ve already asked them to push me forward, I feel more confident. Whatever they give me, I can do.”
Marshall Mackrell, 18, started his Highway Maintenance apprenticeship 16 weeks ago. He added: “I’ve really improved on my existing skills. I’ve learned different things in different areas as I’ve gone along.
“The job changes every day, digging out one day, putting in edges in, and tarmacing the next day.”
To qualify for the scheme applicants must be over 16 years old and have two GCSES at Grade C in Maths and English or equivalent. For more information about the scheme contact Jane Richards at Balfour Beatty Workplaces on 023 8079 8016.