Name of Apprentice: Lauren Wallace
Job Title: Apprentice Civil/Structural Engineer
Service Area: Property, Housing
Apprenticeship Name: Civil/Structural Engineering
Apprenticeship Level: Bachelor’s degree
Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship?
I started this apprenticeship after dropping out of University because I found the academic stress of a full time course was too much for me, and being able to earn a living while working towards a degree seemed like a good idea. I wish I had taken the option more seriously in sixth form.
What has been your biggest achievement so far in your apprenticeship?
On site I noticed holes in a building that a tenant had complained about a wasp problem, and that combined with the knowledge of housing types I had gained recently on the job, I could put forward a theory about how that could have formed the problem. I don’t know if I was right, but I was proud of thinking outside the box and being able to give a theory.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Working from home and making sure I start/stop at the right times and don’t get distracted. It has gotten easier since the first few months but still takes a conscious effort.
Would you recommend an apprenticeship to a colleague? Why?
Yes, because an apprenticeship allows you to earn money while learning, and I think having tried both ways of earning a degree, that it is really useful to see the things you are learning in action and to see what you are working towards. I’ve also found that being able to ask team members about problems I have encountered is always useful. Also, in my experience, people who have worked in your sector for longer are always happy to give you help and advice if you ask.
What top tip would you give someone who is about to start an apprenticeship?
Think about where you would like to live, as apprenticeships take a few years – mine is 5 years long – and you are making a commitment to study and work alongside each other, so having separate work and study/personal space and even different calendars is really useful.