What motivated you to undertake an apprenticeship?
After completing my university degree, which was in English Language and Communication, I was unsure of the pathway I wanted to take. I was yet to find a natural fit into a role beyond university life.
I felt that a graduate scheme or apprenticeship would help define my next step and began researching these to find one that would truly stand out. During my research, I found that graduate schemes and the Prater apprenticeship are very similarly structured – offering a rotation through each department, giving me the opportunity to see what the best fit was for me.
What was it that made you look to construction as opposed to other sectors?
I actually knew someone in the industry, and they advised me of apprenticeship opportunities available at Prater. After hearing that I’d be exploring a variety of roles in both the office environment and on-site, with no prior experience required, I knew it was the ideal chance for me to discover what I wanted from my career.
Did you have any expectations or misconceptions about the construction industry before you joined?
I had the perception (like I’m sure most do) that construction roles are largely site based, and that everyone is in hard hats and high vis! –but that is not the case! The apprenticeship has shown me that there is so much more that goes into a build, including the levels of collaboration with the design teams, the commercial teams, supply chain partners, architects, developers, main contractors - and so on.
Following your rotation, how did you decide on the role of Trainee Planner?
The role is a central position for the business that has involvement across all departments, and it allows me to see projects through from beginning to end, from a range of perspectives. It also has a good mix of desk-based and onsite work. Seeing the finished project after being part of the discussions and planning always feels extremely fulfilling.
What are your responsibilities within Prater?
The daily jobs and tasks can change depending on the projects and requirements, but my core responsibility is to ensure that all progress on-site aligns with the schedule of works laid out, and that it matches up with a variety of programmes, such as design programmes. If I anticipate any issues onsite during the planning stage, or even as we check the works progress, it is up to me to raise them with project managers as soon as possible, to ensure a solution is found and delays are avoided.
What has been a standout moment since you started at Prater?
After shadowing mentors for so long, being able to contribute independently and use my own knowledge gives me the opportunity to sink my teeth into the project and really feel a part of the team. Watching a project grow from the very first concept stages, right through to installation is so incredibly fulfilling, especially when you’ve been on site with the team and had a hand in ensuring it reached those milestones.
How has Prater supported your journey?
Throughout the training, we’ve had the support of mentors in each department, as well as monthly meetings with the Learning and Development team to ensure our learning was structured and helpful. We now have assigned senior members of our chosen departments to support us as we began the journey into the new role. Thanks to this, I have a huge network of support throughout the business, who understand me, and what areas I need support with.
What advice would you give to someone trying to decide the next step in their career path?
Don’t turn down opportunities because of any misconceptions you may have about an industry or career path. Whilst construction might be something completely different to what you originally envisioned, there are so many rewarding roles in this sector. An apprenticeship scheme is the best way to trial different roles while you earn, so you can truly find the right role for you.