A key Foundation Apprenticeship employer partner, McTaggart Group, have continued to operate throughout this current level of the pandemic with work ongoing at 28 sites, including their construction sites.
Ross Hammell, Sustainable Communities Manager, oversees the delivery of around 300 work placement opportunities. In addition, the 32 civil engineering Foundation Apprentices they are currently supporting continue to benefit despite the pandemic and are able to engage online for virtual work experience including filming from live site visits.
At the moment, much of their work is project-based and they’re learning from the experience of the company’s Civil Engineers who are on the Graduate Apprenticeship Programme.
As Ross says:
“These Graduate Apprentices are great ambassadors for an incredible industry and convey how skills and a positive attitude are valued in an exciting and dynamic workplace.”
McTaggart Group also supports Modern Apprenticeships, Foundation Apprenticeships at SCQF Level 4 and 5, HNC Construction Management students and engages with Glasgow Kelvin College through the Flexible Workforce Development Fund.
Throughout the Civil Engineering Foundation Apprenticeship, McTaggart try to give young people a broader experience of the industry, from site management to quantity surveying and offsite manufacturing processes. There are 900 different job roles in the construction industry and the FA offers a taste of working with relevant trade professionals.
“The industry is moving at such a fast pace, with the introduction of new processes, Building Information Modelling and virtual technologies like CGI flythroughs, which is much like the gaming technology that many young people are familiar with. These days it’s not just Hammers and Hardhats but driving home that preparation and planning will occupy up to 50% of time spent.
Under the restrictions of the pandemic, we’ve expanded our apprenticeship model. Ordinarily we would have around 6-8 Foundation Apprentices on board. However we’re now delivering up to 200 hours of remote online learning, using Microsoft Teams, to over 30 FAs using their laptops, tablets and phones.”
The Glasgow Foundation Apprenticeship programme is managed through Glasgow Kelvin College and funded by Skills Development Scotland with the support of the Glasgow Regional Colleges Board (GCRB) and the other two Glasgow colleges, Glasgow Clyde and City of Glasgow.
Chosen as subjects in S5 or S6, Foundation Apprenticeships at SCQF Level 6 provide school pupils with industry insight and experience of the world of work to gain a qualification at the same level as a Scottish Higher. Delivered by learning providers in partnership with employers, knowledge gained is supported through a series of practical activities including industry projects or work placements undertaken virtually and in person. Civil Engineering is one of 12 types of Foundation Apprenticeship at SCQF Level 6 to choose from and they typically take two years to complete, but some can be completed in one year.
The programme also helps the apprentices to look at the wider industry with an eye to progression and succession planning. The Board of McTaggart Group is keen that sites are used for learning and recognise that today’s young people will be the surveyors, site managers and CEOs of tomorrow’s industry.
Some of the softer skills required in the industry are also provided, such as customer handling and client interaction as well as the technology around that, all of which is increasingly important for a sector which is meeting the challenges of increased automation in offsite manufacture and a labour shortage.
Summing up, Ross says:
“The industry has fought hard to invest in skills since the last recession and the Foundation Apprenticeship will ensure we have the best individuals for the future.
It is an amazing programme. Anything that encourages young people to build relationships within the industry is immensely valuable. Our apprentices are gaining the confidence of working life by holding conversations and interacting with senior professionals – this can only be a good thing”.