North East firm lays the foundations for innovative UK housing project

The modern building techniques of a leading civil engineering firm are set to be part of one of the UK’s most innovative house building projects.   

With demand for homes outstripping supply in the UK, experts have praised the possibilities that factory-built modular housing could deliver for the UK’s housing needs. 

Home Group, one of the UK’s largest providers of high quality housing, health and social care, has set up Gateshead Innovation Village, a truly unique project to assess the effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of modern methods of construction (MMC). 

Home Group is working with five MMC manufacturers to develop 35 modular houses and panelised houses as well as six traditional, bricks and mortar homes, which will be assessed by specialists for a range of issues over a year long period.  

Seymour Civil Engineering is contracted by leading regeneration specialist, ENGIE who is delivering the project on behalf of Group, to look after the roads, sewers and foundations at the site.    

The Hartlepool-based civil engineering firm has been laying the foundations at the site and is also responsible for the internal and external drainage, services and hard landscaping. 

Thomas Brown, Seymour Civil Engineering Site Manager, said: “This is the first time we have worked in this way – and it is so interesting to watch the process. The main difference is the way we lay the foundations.  

“With traditional construction, perimeter walls and load-bearing walls need deep foundations – and therefore deep excavation – to support the load of the structure.  

“However, the modular homes require shallow excavation with concrete and blockwork plinths as the weight of the property is spread across the site.” 

Due to the current housing shortage, the UK needs to build between 240,000 and 300,000 new homes annually. The industry is currently building around 190,000 houses per year due to the cost of building homes and declining number of skilled workers.   

Thomas added: “The time taken to erect a modular house is a fraction of the time it takes to construct a traditional build.   

Myself and the team have found this project fascinating and amazing to watch the homes as they are erected and complete in such a small space of time.  

“We’re all very proud to be part of this fantastic project.” 

He added: “I’m 100% certain that this is the future of housebuilding in this country.”    

Stuart Dickens, Seymour Civil Engineering Construction Director, said: “Seymour is always keen to take on board projects where the expertise and skills of our engineers will be utilised in new and innovative ways.   

“We feel that Gateshead Innovation Village does just that as well as giving us all the opportunity to be involved within the future of the house building sector.   

“It’s exciting to be involved and we look forward to seeing the first residents move into their pioneering properties.”  

Seymour Civil Engineering started on the project in June last year and the development is due for completion in May.   

The properties are manufactured in a state-of-the-art factory using the latest technologies and they will boast features such as smart controlled solar panel systems.  

Once the village is built householders will share their experiences of the housing type and technology.   

Civil engineers to complete work on £75m Highways England Silverlink project

Seymour Civil Engineering is nearing completion on its award-winning role at the North East’s first ‘super roundabout’.   

Work on the £75m Highways England Silverlink triple decker roundabout is scheduled to finish in just weeks with Hartlepool-based Seymour Civil Engineering contracted by John Sisk & Son to install £8m highway and kerb drainage.     

Seymour has been on site for 102 weeks to date and has been crowned ‘Supply Chain Partner of the Year Civils UK’ at the Sisk Supply Chain Awards for the last two years for its work on the project, with particular mention made about the quality of work and its collaborative approach.     

Ryan Browell, Contracts Manager at Seymour, said: “It’s definitely been one of the largest projects that I have been involved in throughout my career.   

“I think the main challenge has been working around traffic management. We worked collaboratively with a host of other contractors such as those looking after the piling, bridges and laying of the roads.”  

He added: “We are very pleased with the work and we know that it’s going to make a real difference on one of the UK’s primary transport corridors.”   

Seymour has installed drainage utilising the latest shaft sinking and microtunnelling techniques which has enabled continuous traffic flow on the A19.    

The four key areas of Seymour’s work involved:  

  • Main highway and land drainage  
  • Trenchless crossing undertaken by micro tunnelling techniques  
  • Sinking three shafts – the deepest being 13.5m deep  
  • Installation of combined kerb drainage  

It has also provided 24-hour on-site support.    

Health and safety on this project has been of the highest standards, working to Highways England’s ‘Raising the Bar’ standards given the nature of the location of the works and the risks involved.  

The scheme in North Tyneside, at the A19 and A1058 Coast Road junction, has been ongoing since summer 2016.  

Three layers have been created – the Coast Road on top, a junction in the middle and the A19 on the bottom.   

Once complete the project will dramatically reduce queuing time for motorists travelling along the A19 at peak times.   

Highways England has confirmed the scheme is on schedule to finish in March and the work is now entering the final stages.  

Hartlepool business champions urged to enter prestigious awards by former winners

Reigning Hartlepool Business of the Year, Seymour Civil Engineering, is helping in the search for the next business champion by becoming the main sponsors of a prestigious awards event. 

The search is once again on to find the champions of Hartlepool’s business community for the Hartlepool Business Awards in May. 

Seymour Civil Engineering lifted the Overall Business of the Year trophy last year in what was a landmark 40th year for the company. 

And the leading civils firm has recognised the ongoing importance of the awards by becoming its main sponsor. 

Kevin Byrne, Seymour Civil Engineering MD, is now leading the charge to encourage more Hartlepool businesses to enter the awards. 

He said: “Last year was such an important year for us, we completed some very significant projects for major clients and won some big national construction awards. 

“To pick up the Overall Business of the Year Award at the Hartlepool Business Awards was the cherry on the cake for us.  

“Respect in the industry is great but when it comes from your hometown business peers it feels fantastic.  

“We feel that Hartlepool Business Awards are the perfect way to come together to back business in the town and acknowledge the abundant examples of excellence.” 

Andrew Steel, Hartlepool Business Forum Leader, said: “After winning Overall Business of the Year last year it’s great to see Seymour Civil Engineering backing this annual event by becoming our main sponsor for this year. 

“Seymour is a first-class Hartlepool company with firm roots in the town, only strengthened recently with news of its new training academy which is due to get started in Brenda Road. 

“No matter how big or small we would urge Hartlepool companies to push themselves forward and enter this year. 

“We want to showcase our strong, resilient and new Hartlepool businesses.” 

Entry is free and there are 11 categories in total and the Overall Business of the Year winner attracts a £1,000 prize. 

The closing date for entries is 5pm on Friday, March 29 and firms are restricted to three entries only.  

Tickets for the awards night on Thursday, May 16 at Borough Hall – which includes a three-course dinner – are £450 for a table of 10 or  £45 each.   

To reserve tickets call (01429) 283802 or email  Cheryl.Menzies@hartlepoolfe.ac.uk. 

To enter visit: http://hartlepoolbusinessforum.co.uk/hartlepoolbusinessawards 

University VS apprenticeships: Apprentices talk about why they chose on-the-job learning over a purely academic route

Outdated misconceptions often still prevail when talking about apprenticeships.  

With new figures from UCAS showing that in England a record 38.8% of the 18-year-old population have applied to UK universities this year – it’s clear to see that academia is as popular as ever. 

But what are the alternatives?  

As National Apprenticeship Week (March 4 – 8) approaches we chat to two young apprentices at Seymour Civil Engineering who have taken a different direction and are now thriving in their chosen field of civil engineering, an industry keen for young talent to help bridge its ageing workforce.  

Here they stress the benefits of apprenticeships such as on-the-job experience, earning a good wage, avoiding debt and the potential to clinch a long-term role – all while gaining all-important academic qualifications too. 


  

Name: Luke Bell  

Age: 18  

From: Bishop Cuthbert, Hartlepool   

Apprenticeship: Management Trainee at Seymour Civil Engineering, studying for a BTEC Level 3 Construction and the Built Environment with Hartlepool College of Further Education    

“I first heard about apprenticeships through my friends and speaking to lots of employers, including Seymour, at apprenticeship evenings.    

A lot of my mates were saying that by doing an apprenticeship you get the same sort of outcome as you do at university but your course is paid for, you’re paid, you’re well looked after by your employer and you get your foot in the door of a career.    

I thought ‘I want to see if that’s for me’.    

Lots of my family have a background in construction, like my dad who is a bricklayer – so I thought I might look into civils and engineering in general and see where I can go with it.    

But I had no clue as to what engineering involved before I went into it.    

I’ve still got friends who are doing A-Levels and at the time I was thinking ‘which route do I want to go down?’    

But that was my fall-back option if I didn’t get an apprenticeship. 

I applied for a number of companies. Seymour said ‘do you want to come for a testing day?’ which included Maths, English and a few practical tests.    

I was invited to two further interviews and from there they offered me the job. I was 16.    

My family were over the moon that I had the courage to go for an interview at the age of 16 and get a job straight after school in the form of an apprenticeship – earning while I’m learning.      

The payment of an apprenticeship was definitely a draw too – it means as well as working hard I can afford to do things socially in my spare time.   

I have friends who are doing A-Levels messaging me to ask if there were any apprenticeships going! I feel as though I did make a good decision. It was hard at the time making it, but I feel as though it’s really paid off.    

I feel like I’ve really grown up – especially considering what you’re like at school with your friends. All of a sudden you’re in a work environment. I feel I’m more mature and grown up.    

I think any snobbery is carried over from years ago and people have got a perception that apprenticeships are more manual and labour intensive, but actually apprentices can be working in offices and things have changed.    

The debt that you can incur by going to university was also a big put off for me. I don’t want to be in that situation.    

I think people my age understand that apprenticeships are great but you’ve got your mum and dad in your ear saying university is more academic.  

My mum wasn’t really keen on apprenticeships at first and didn’t know much about them. 

But I think my mum is buzzing with it now – she’s really happy with the decision that I have made. 

Traditionally people once thought that earning capability could be higher if you did go to university but now I think it could be about the same in most sectors. 

Another thing to take into consideration is if after university there is a job there waiting for you. With an apprenticeship the job is there from the start.  

My favourite bits so far have been being going out on-site and getting first-hand experience – when you read it online or in a book it’s harder to understand.  

I also like that Seymour has let us try every department – so I have worked in most departments such as estimating and quantity surveying which I think is the route I want to take. 

As a trainee Quantity Surveyor I have to keep to the estimated costs of a project, price any changes to the works that weren’t priced originally and just make sure that the project runs smoothly on the financial side.      

Would I recommend an apprenticeship to my peers? Definitely.”  

Name: Klaudia Robinson  

Age: 19   

From: King Oswy, Hartlepool  

Apprenticeship: Management Trainee at Seymour Civil Engineering, studying for an HNC in Civil Engineering at Hartlepool College of Further Education 

“My sister Kensey, 20, went into an apprenticeship when she left school as a lab technician. I just knew that was the route that I wanted to follow too. It just seemed more interesting than sitting in a classroom all week.    

My mum was really happy with the decision and she thought that I would get a better understanding of the industry that I wanted to work in – and better still that I had a job as well.    

It was more when my sister did it that friends and family thought ‘that’s different’. The perception had been you go to college, you go to uni and then you get a job. 

Now the majority of my friends have apprenticeships too. One is an accountant, one works at Caterpillar, one works at a hairdressers. I think now it’s actually the more desirable route. 

I think the main attraction for me is that you’re getting paid but you’re learning as well. 

I do have friends who have gone to uni – and I know they enjoy it – but they are always worrying about money.    

You can get the education by doing an apprenticeship – I’m doing an HNC which means that if I did want to go on and do a degree that I could progress on for another year to turn my HNC into a degree.     

I was initially attracted to civil engineering after going to an open evening at Hartlepool College of Further Education and talking to the course tutor. When you think of construction you just think of bricklaying and being on-site but you don’t really think of the office-based jobs.  

When the tutor explained Quantity Surveying it really interested me.    

I want to be a Quantity Surveyor and I feel I will be in a good position to achieve this as I will have the actual on-the-job experience, which you can often miss out on at university. 

I feel like if I went to college full time I would definitely not learn as much, particularly about different sectors of the industry.    

definitely feel the apprenticeship experience has helped me to mature. 

When you get a job you have to learn fast and grow up fast. But saying that, it is still a laugh coming into work – it’s not all serious!    

If you do apply for different jobs then you have the hands on experience as well as learning about it at college.  
I feel like it makes you stand out.”  

Green light given for civil engineering training academy   

The official go-ahead has been given for a new civil engineering training academy in the North East. 

Seymour Civil Engineering’s plans for an 11-acre training facility have now been approved and its aim is to help tackle a gaping UK-wide skills shortage in the sector.

Kevin Byrne, Managing Director of the multi award-winning firm, says that the academy will impact both locally and nationally, providing qualifications to those needed to construct the nation’s future infrastructure.  

Staff will work in collaboration with Hartlepool College of Further Education to provide qualifications for construction operatives from Seymour, the College and external organisations at the Hartlepool-based academy which will replicate a fully functioning construction site. 

Kevin said: “There is a skills shortage, we’re addressing it and now that planning permission has been given we can move forward with a view to opening fully for business in time for the new academic year. 

“While the initial ambition was to train our own staff – both current and future – we realised that there is a gap in the market and we will be able to train people from other businesses as well as new entrants to the construction industry. 

“The kernel of the idea came about seven years ago when we were having difficulty accessing local training so we started to offer our own internal training with approved in-house trainers.  

“As the industry progressed – and required more skills – we wanted to offer a wider variety of training to a larger volume of people and an increased number of apprentices.” 

Civil Engineering Contractors Association members recently revealed the future supply of skilled operatives was the largest concern for firms in all parts of the UK. 

 According to the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) the construction industry needs to recruit in excess of 31,000 people every year to 2022, while research by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills suggests more than 750,000 people will leave the sector between 2014 and 2024.  

It was in 2016 Hartlepool Borough Council was approached by Seymour and the College with a view to finding a suitable site for the academy which will be located on Brenda Road. 

The academy will feature two training buildings, classrooms, welfare facilities, storage containers and toilets. Wildlife and ecological considerations will be addressed and utilised as a training resource. 

Kevin says that as well as contributing to plugging the skills gap, another major benefit of the facility is that it will provide a welcome boost to the local economy.  

He said: “We have been extremely pleased by the very positive approach of Hartlepool Borough Council councillors who see the social and economic benefit of this. 

“The more people that we can attract to the academy, the more money will be directed to the service sector in the town such as at hotels and accommodation.”

 Hartlepool College of Further Education has supported the project throughout and will be the awarding body for the academy’s qualifications including NVQs.

Andrew Steel, Assistant Principal of Hartlepool College of Further Education, said: “This is great news and a fantastic opportunity for the long-standing partnership between Hartlepool College of Further Education and Seymour Civil Engineering to deliver a unique civil engineering academy to the area.

“The academy will offer excellent training opportunities across a wide variety of civil engineering, plant and construction skills, increase apprenticeship opportunities in the Tees Valley as well as employing additional training staff to meet the anticipated demand.” 

Kevin says that training will be taken up a gear as operatives will be able to practice on a site that’s authentic, but away from commercial pressures, allowing repeat exercises until required skill levels are achieved.

He said: “We will be offering nationally recognised qualifications that will allow civil engineers to work to the very highest level – on projects such as HS2 and Thames Tideway. Civil engineers that have come through our training academy ranks will be there to help deliver the nation’s infrastructure. 

“It’s all about giving them meaningful hands on experience and confidence on a real site.  

“When we look at the demographic of the company over the next five years we are inevitably going to be losing people through retirement, people with 30 and 40 years’ experience. We do not want to lose those skills, they need to be passed on.

“This is an opportunity for genuine hands-on trainers to be able to show students the Seymour way as well as deliver those vocational skills.” 

Bridge over troubled waters

A crumbling rail bridge located in a town’s ‘best kept secret’ area can now continue to safely carry passengers to their destination. 

It’s an area renowned for its natural beauty – but for the very same reason expert engineers worked in challenging conditions to support the failing Victorian rail underbridge over Greatham Beck, on the outskirts of Hartlepool in the Tees Valley. 

A range of specialist organisations – including Seymour Civil Engineering and AmcoGiffen – came together to complete the project despite being its difficult tidal location and abundant wildlife including kingfisher, woodpeckers and owls. 

Chris Byrne, Contracts Manager for Seymour Civil Engineering, said: “The project has run for 12 weeks and was taken on in collaboration with our sister company AmcoGiffen, which had been contracted by its client Network Rail, to strengthen the Greatham Beck rail bridge. 

“The whole area is teeming with wildlife so we also worked with the Environment Agency to ensure its protection. 

“But despite dealing with the very intricate challenges we faced with tides and wildlife, we finished the project on time and to budget.” 

The underbridge is located between Billingham railway station and Seaton Carew railway station, but no travel was affected during the work, which included installing a steel ‘liner’ under the bridge, masonry repairs and repairing fractures.  

Nick Hill, Senior Project Manager at AmcoGiffen, explained more about the work required to support the structure. 

He said: “The arch structure had deteriorated to such an extent that it was necessary to carry out major works.   

“For this kind of structure it’s normal to line the arch with corrugated steel structure to effectively make the brick arch redundant. As the brick arch deteriorates over the years the steel liner will take more and more of the load. 

“The main challenge was working in an environmentally sensitive area requiring various consents, tidal fluctuations and water management. 

“The tidal conditions were challenging due to the large differences in level from low to high tide. At times of very high tide the water was able to flow over our dam, but the water drained back out when the tide receded allowing us to continue working.” 

An engineering team of around 20 worked on the project which took 12 weeks to complete, starting in mid July and completing at the end of October. 

Nick added: “The project was a very successful example of how teams wanting to work together and communicate well can deliver a high quality project to budget and programme.” 

For more information about Seymour Civil Engineering and its work visit http://www.seymourcec.co.uk

Landmark 40th year for civil engineering company as it scoops national title

It’s a 40th birthday to remember for a civil engineering firm rounding off its year of celebrations with a clutch of awards – including a national title.  

Seymour Civil Engineering was awarded the Health, Safety and Wellbeing award at the National Constructing Excellence Awards at an esteemed event in London.  

The award is hot on the heels of the North East Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) Awards in Newcastle, where Seymour picked up the Health and Safety Company of the Year and Training Company of the Year 2018 for the third year running.  

Kevin Byrne, Managing Director at Seymour, said that it was the perfect end to an outstanding 40th year.  

He said: “We have always had a strong focus on health and safety and training – and these awards show our continued commitment to these key workplace issues.  

“The awards are also testament to our wonderful, dedicated staff whose work is helping to delivering high quality workmanship to projects of both regional and national significance.”  

He added: “We’ve had a fantastic 40th year and are looking forward to what 2019 brings, with plenty more exciting projects to deliver.”  

The judges paid credit to how Seymour has set up a series of health and wellbeing campaigns, covering subjects including the dangers of silica, healthy eating and mental health awareness as well as the development of a positive health, safety and wellbeing culture that had been created throughout the company.  

It’s been a busy year for Seymour which has been involved in a number of flagship projects, including the installation of the highway drainage and kerb drainage works on behalf of Sisk on the Silverlink project – the gigantic £75m upgrade of the junction in North Tyneside.  

It also carried out the civil and infrastructure work for the £18m ‘Remaking Beamish’ project – the biggest in the County Durham living museum’s history.  

Seymour qualified for the national Constructing Excellence Award after it won two titles in the regional heats. It was also finalist within the National Awards for the Civil Engineering Project of the Year for the Hartlepool Town Wall in partnership with Hartlepool Borough Council.  

At the national award ceremony on Friday, November 16, Seymour went up against eight other finalists in its winning category, including Wilmott Dixon, Speller Metcalfe and NGBail. 

Heroic Hartlepool rugby team do sponsors Seymour proud

Heroic Hartlepool finished in an excellent third place on their second entry into the Bangkok International Rugby Sevens.

The united side, made up of players from four Hartlepool & District clubs, produced a superb effort in stifling heat in the Thai capital. Beating Spanish side, Wiss, 21-12 in the Bowl final to decide the third and fourth positions.

Hartlepool enjoyed a stunning opening day by winning all three games in Group B.

The squad, sponsored by Seymour Civil Engineering, Hart Biologicals and J&B Recycling scored 10 tries, all converted by Ryan Foreman, in victories over Almaty, from Kazakhstan, (21-7), Central Queensland Dingoes (28-14) and Thailand team All for One (21-7).

In Sunday’s International semi-final, the Michael Ainslie-coached team were pitched with Confrerie Occitan in a mouth-watering England v France confrontation.

Les Bleus made the brighter start, scoring two converted first-half tries.

Hartlepool hit back after the break when Foreman chipped ahead for skipper Brad Green to touch down wide out, but they could not find any more scores and went down 14-5, their first defeat of the 2018 competition.

That took them into the Bowl final, where, Wiss, sevens and beach rugby specialists awaited them.

Were Hartlepool disappointed to miss out on a main final showdown with the Pacific Barbarians? Of course, but despondent they were not as they produced a come-from-behind victory over their Spanish opponents, who were old friends from the 2017 tournament.

Friendship went out of the window from the first whistle as Wiss ran in a converted try in the opening minute to go 7-0 up.

Hartlepool attacked at all times but in trying to force things too much, they allowed Wiss the opportunity to counter-attack and only great covering work by Green prevented a possible 14-0 lead to open up.

But some powerful driving play by Aidan Jackson-Smith saw him knock Wiss players out off the way as though were skittles to feed Taz Pelser who scoreed the equalizing try with Foreman converting.

A massive take by Sean McCallum at the start of the second half led to a brilliant Hartlepool try with Peter Youll and Green handling before finding Callum Whitehead whose rampaging run took him all the way to the try-line. Foreman added the extra points and United’s lead was 14-7.

Hartlepool threatened a third try from the re-start, only for Wiss to intercept and run the full length of the Pattana field to score.

Thankfully, McCallum’s back-tracking meant the Spanish touched down wide out and the missed conversion meant Hartlepool kept their noses in front at 14-12.

The next score was going to be decisive and it was Hartlepool who got it, with the team attacking both sides of the posts before Foreman and Pelser combined for the marauding Maddison to charge over. Foreman’s conversion made it 21-12 and there was no way back for Wiss.

Team manager John Bickerstaff declared: “This was a fantastic effort from the entire squad throughout the whole tournament.

“To be returning home with the Bowl is a testament to the work put in and the rugby produced in incredibly hot conditions.

“The players deserve tremendous credit, but our thanks go to the sponsors who made it possible and it was great for Alby Pattison, who as tournament sponsor with Hart Biologicals, saw his team play with such passion and pride.”

Green was joined in the winning squad by Horden & Peterlee comrade McCallum, while West supplied Jackson-Smith, Maddison and Youll, with Shane Jeffrey from Boys Brigade Old Boys and Foreman, Aaron Jeffrey, Patrick O’Callaghan, Pelser and Whitehead from Rovers.

Hartlepool companies come together to support Bangkok Rugby Sevens

Courtesy of Michael Gant

 

Hartlepool’s United rugby team are ready to fly the flag again at a major overseas sporting spectacular – thanks to heavyweight businesses packing a sponsorship punch.

Hart Biologicals, J&B Recycling and Seymour Civil Engineering have scrummed down to back Hartlepool’s second crack at the Bangkok International Rugby Sevens.

The squad, made up of 11 players from four Hartlepool & District clubs, will compete in the International part of the event this weekend in the Thai capital.

Last year’s debut produced instant silverware with Hartlepool winning the Shield section after beating Lao Nagas 19-15.

The town’s entry into the Bangkok Sevens was the inspiration of the founder and managing director of Hart Biologicals, Alby Pattison MBE, whose internationally-renowned company are the principal sponsors of the entire tournament which is played on Saturday and Sunday.

Alby was at the Historic Quay earlier this month for the presentation of the 2018 strips to Hartlepool manager, John Bickerstaff, and coach, Michael Ainslie, along with Mark Penny, from J&B Recycling, and Kevin Byrne, from Seymour Civil Engineering.

“It is fantastic that Hartlepool is competing at such a high-profile tournament again,” said Bickerstaff.

“But we’re only able to compete on the international stage thanks to the support of Hart Biologicals, J&B Recycling and Seymour Civil Engineering.

“They have made the vision become a reality and we’re looking forward to going even better than we did in 2017.

“We’ve kept a core of players from last year and believe we have a well-balanced squad who can challenge this time.”

The Bangkok International Rugby Sevens is an amazing two-days of rugby and sporting fellowship.

Founded in 1995, the event features an international section, plus female, junior male, junior female and social divisions.

“There is something for everyone,” said Bickerstaff. “There are teams from Thailand, Kazakhstan, Spain and Laos in the international section.”

Horden & Peterlee’s Brad Green will skipper the team and he will be joined by club-mate, Sean McCallum, plus West Hartlepool players Aidan Jackson-Smith, Lee Maddison and Peter Youll, Shane Jeffrey from Boys Brigade Old Boys and Ryan Foreman, Aaron Jeffrey, Patrick O’Callaghan, Taz Pelser and Callum Whitehead from Hartlepool Rovers.

As well as the names of their sponsors on the colourful jerseys, there will also be the logo of Prostate Cancer UK. Bickerstaff explained that the squad were unanimous in wanting to raise money for the charity.

“The players felt strongly about supporting Prostate Cancer UK,” said John.

“Prostate Cancer UK are putting millions into research and promoting awareness and we felt in Movember, the month when so many people grow moustaches to raise money, that we can do our bit in Thailand.”

Meet the apprentices! A chat with Seymour Civil Engineering’s new faces

Apprenticeships are key to developing our future workforce. That’s the message from the Government which at the beginning of October invested an extra £90m into backing businesses to take on apprentices.
 
Here we chat to two brand new apprentices at Seymour Civil Engineering, about their experiences. 
 
Taking on apprentices can help drive forward businesses, says Andrea Cartwright, Training Manager at Seymour Civil Engineering.
 
She believes that apprentices finish their qualification work ready and gain real, on-the-job insight into their chosen field of study.
 
This is particularly relevant, says Andrea, given the skills shortage in the construction sector across the country.
 
Seymour has recently taken on two apprentices, and here we chat to them about their experiences so far.
 
Name: Nicole Gray
Age: 16
From: Manor Academy, Hartlepool
Role: Business Administration Apprentice
Qualification: Level 2 Business Administration, Hartlepool College of Further Education
 
“I’ve been looking for an apprenticeship since the beginning of Year 11 because I was really interested in going down that route instead of going to college full time.
 
I’ve started in the accounts department and it’s been eye-opening to see the process in a business the size of Seymour. There’s a lot to it, a lot more than I expected.
 
The role involves rotations around the different departments so I get a taste of every area, how the areas all fit together and a chance to see what area I like the most and may want to work in specifically.
 
In the second year I get the chance to decide where I want to stay.
 
I think this way of doing it is important because you get to understand the company and the different aspects of what each department does.
 
I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do after school, and if I’d gone to college full time I would have ended up picking a subject because I liked it, not necessarily because there would be a career for me within it.
 
The apprenticeship gives you the work experience whilst gaining the qualification. It gives you the chance to get stuck in to the proper world of working and develop your communications and people skills.
 
The team that I’ve been working with has been great. They go through everything in lots of detail so I fully understand it.
 
I think it’s great to be able to go to college and to meet new people but I really like working full time and keeping busy. I’m in college on a Tuesday from 9am to 5pm.
 
I expected the college side to be really difficult. Now after three weeks, I think I’d built it up to be harder than it is. I now have a practical understanding of what is being talked about.
 
Apprenticeships are a good option for people who aren’t sure what they want to do long term. You get paid while you’re doing it as well.
 
Business admin covers a lot of different aspects and having experience in all these areas will help me in the future.
 
I feel it’s going to open a lot of doors for me.”
Name: Callum Downing
Age: 18
From: Northfield School and Sports College, Billingham
Role: Heavy Vehicle Fitter
Qualification: Level 3 Heavy Vehicle Repair and Maintenance, Hartlepool College of Further Education
 
“I’ve always been interested in cars and mechanics and for the past two years I’ve been doing Motor Vehicle Level 1 and 2 at Stockton Riverside College.
 
I wanted to build on what I’d already learnt which is why I was interested in moving on to do the Level 3 through an apprenticeship.
 
The apprenticeship is giving me the experience of working in a garage environment whilst learning at college.
 
The team around me have been showing me how to do different roles. I like learning about mechanics on the bigger plant equipment they have at Seymour.
 
I’ve started off working in one of the vehicle maintenance yards in Hartlepool, where plant equipment and vans come in and out every day and further into the apprenticeship I will get the opportunity to work from sites too.
 
I spend one full day in college a week. On a Wednesday I’m in from 9am until 8pm which gives me plenty of time to get everything done that I need.
 
My apprenticeship means I’m either at college or at work, always learning and getting used to the working environment.
 
You learn a lot more when you get to stuck in to it practically.
 
Taking the theory and putting it in to practice helps it sink it and helps you understand it a lot more.”
 
Apprenticeship Facts

 

  • On October 1 the Government announced a package of reforms to ensure the Apprenticeship Levy provides people with the skills they need to succeed.
  • The changes are aimed at providing flexibility for businesses so they can take full advantage of the benefits of employing apprentices, and to help as many people as possible find the right training to equip them for the new economy.
  • An extra £90 million of Government funding will enable employers to invest a quarter of their apprenticeship funds on people working for businesses in their supply chain – boosting the number able to benefit from high-quality apprenticeship training.
  • A further £5 million was announced for the Institute for Apprenticeships to introduce new standards and updating existing ones so that more courses can be offered – meaning more choice for those considering their training options.