A day in the life of an Apprentice

We joined HA Civils apprentice Sam Wilkes to discuss his role in HA Civils. He is currently working on Liverpool city council’s Better Roads improvement scheme in Kensington.

What does your typical day look like?

Every day is different, and no two days are the same. There is a mixture of duties I complete day to day. I help with tarmacking, by keeping the tarmac roller wet, and pushing the compactor which flattens the tarmac. Drainage is another area I work on; I install manhole drains. I also work on raising sections and the setting the lids. I lay tactile flag stones (like blister paving for braille users) and other flag stones. Another duty of mine is to install tarmac around iron works (grids/electrical boxes). Assisting ACO channels (to allow water to drain through) is also something I am involved in. Finally, I lay concrete for kerbs and mix concrete by hand to lay by the shops.

What do you like best about your job?

The satisfaction of completing a job. I enjoy building different things and helping the community. For example, I recently contributed to the construction of a new school (St Cuthberts).

What do you find most challenging about your job?

The site I currently work on is in Kensington, which is a main road, so I need to ensure I’m mindful of guiding pedestrians through busy work areas and footpath diversions.

Why did you decide to start an apprenticeship?

It was the best route for my career, I enrolled on a Joinery course at college but halfway through felt it wasn’t for me and was advised by a tutor to start an apprenticeship. The apprentice opportunity was advertised online and on HA Civils Facebook page. I saw that they were holding a Meet the Project Team event in the local community centre and they advertised apprenticeship opportunities. My aim is to gain hands on experience (rather than theory which was taught in college). I want practical experience which will allow me to be a time served Groundworker.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start an apprenticeship?

Try to get some experience beforehand. I have worked as a bricklayer previously and have done some work with my dad like plastering and working on driveways. See if any family/relations can help or look for local tradesmen to ask for labouring work and let them know you’re keen.

Would you recommend an apprenticeship to other people?

Yes, I’ve found it beneficial for my construction career. I believe an NVQ from an apprenticeship is more useful than a Level 2 qualification (from college). The practical experience of working on site and in a team has been very useful for me.

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