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National Apprenticeship Week 2021 is upon us, taking place from Monday, February 8, with the theme of “Build the Future”. As the North West’s leading structural engineering firm, with countless apprentices coming through our ranks over the last 35 years, we don’t think there could be a more fitting phrase than “Build the Future” for Team Sutcliffe.

This annual week-long event aims to shine a light on all the fantastic hard work being done by apprentices across England, and also showcases how much apprentices help employers as a vital part of many companies’ ecosystems.

Many members of the Sutcliffe team have been with us since they were apprenticeship age, with many having grown their entire career with us. For that we are very grateful. A huge part of Sutcliffe’s values align with the fact that we have a high level of staff retention and many of the faces in our team choose to work here for so long – some even racking up 20 or even 30 years of service!

At Sutcliffe we have the ability to offer a number of work experience placements throughout the year to school children or school leavers, and we also have a number of undergraduate and graduate apprenticeship placements. These placements provide young people with that vital first hand insight into the world of work and engineering. We’re proud to say that most of these apprenticeships finish with happy outcomes for both student and employer, with the offer of a full time position here at Sutcliffe.

What are the benefits of hiring an apprentice?

There are plenty of benefits we have seen from hiring apprentices.

Firstly, it’s fantastic to be able to adapt the training of a young person to suit our company’s needs precisely. We’ve been able to train people to understand our business, our systems, our clients and been able to develop the skills that we need in our people the most. By utilising apprentices, and keeping them on full time afterwards, we are future proofing our workforce.

Secondly, it’s been abundantly clear to us that apprentices are highly motivated and very eager to learn. Often, our apprentices improve the overall productivity in the office by being so keen to help everyone out.

Another reason we are passionate about having apprentices at Sutcliffe is because they often bring brand new ideas and a different perspective to the team. When it comes to building the world around us and working on the built environment for the benefit of everyone, having the perspectives of people from all ages and backgrounds is vital. It helps us to engineer the spaces in our communities to suit the needs of the people living there.

Sean Keyes, Managing Director here at Sutcliffe, knows how much apprentices can benefit a business.

“At Sutcliffe we have a proud history of progressing our apprentices and ensuring that they can learn and grow in a safe and accepting environment.

“With four apprentices currently on our books, we have high hopes that they will be able to follow in the footsteps of some of our previous apprentices who have climbed the ladder and progressed from young, inexperienced 16-year-olds to established and competent company directors.

“Taking on apprentices fresh from school at the ages of 16 to 19, every apprentice’s experience is tailored towards their growth, and whether it is engineering or admin that they are passionate about we do all we can to integrate them into our team and give them the tools they need to flourish both in an office and on-site environment.

“There is a clear ladder of succession at Sutcliffe and our apprentices are regularly reminded of their aims and goals to ensure that they stay focused and are always working towards their next achievement, which I feel is incredibly important for their future aspirations and development.”

What are the benefits of being an apprentice?

We spoke to one of our current graduate engineer apprentices, Cameron, to ask him how the experience has been so far.

Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship?

“I chose an apprenticeship because it suits me and my learning style best, being able to learn on the job and get experience in industry.”

What’s the best part of being an apprentice?

“It is a great opportunity to learn the industry from the inside and also earn money while studying. Also not having any student debt.”

What would your advice be to people considering doing an apprenticeship?

“Start it as early as possible, if you are certain of your chosen career then try to pursue an apprenticeship in it.”

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