North East based Seymour Civil Engineering believes in the important role apprenticeships play in bringing the next generation of engineers into its industry.
This is represented by Lewis Hunt, a Site Engineer and Management Trainee Apprentice at Seymour and the journey he is undertaking as an apprentice with the company.
Lewis, 19, from Hartlepool, is one of Seymour’s youngest civil engineers and began his career by helping in the offices, before working on site where he is taking on many roles and responsibilities.
Lewis is currently working as an on-site engineer on the Port of Tyne Container Improvement scheme. His responsibilities include planning, co-ordinating and supervising all technical aspects of the works from the outset. As the project progresses Lewis also ensures that all fabrications are structurally sound.
Other responsibilities include setting out, solving technical issues, providing advice, preparing reports and working closely with the site manager to ensure the project is delivered safely.
Lewis has been an apprentice at Seymour for three years and chose to undertake civil engineering as his focus two years ago after spending the first year benefiting from spending time within each department, providing him with a unique understanding of all business functions. This gave Lewis the commercial advantage of undertaking his role on site.
Alongside the apprenticeship, Lewis is undertaking an HNC Civil Engineering degree at Teesside University, fully funded by Seymour.
Lewis said: “It’s a fantastic opportunity and it shows that apprenticeships in this industry give you the best start.
“I believe I’m in this role because of the effort I put in. I try my absolute best and learn so much from the many different roles I have on site.
“I started my apprenticeship at Hartlepool College of Further Education, which was brilliant, working in the Seymour offices, then moved to working outside where I have learnt so much already and has helped me with my academic studies.”
Research from the Institute of Civil Engineers found that due to an ageing workforce, the UK could face a ‘skills cliff edge’; with around 30% of workers aged over 50 and 700,000 set to retire in the next ten years.
A recent Government study as part of the Year of Engineering Campaign stated that for the engineering sector to gain enough candidates to reduce the skills shortage, they would need around 186,000 skilled recruits each year until 2024.
According to a research brief from the House of Commons, of the 59,000 apprenticeship starts in 2017/18, 16% were in engineering.
Lewis is a CITB Ambassador and has previously spent time attending schools and colleges to share his experiences.
Lewis said: “Apprenticeships are brilliant to introduce to young people as there is an aging work force so there will always be jobs for people to get into.”
Lewis has been involved in a wide variety of engineering projects in Northallerton, Harrogate, Newcastle and Hartlepool so far throughout his time at Seymour.
He continued: “Seymour really invest in you and provide you with a wide range of work and projects – what you need for professional development and gaining valuable experience.”
Throughout his apprenticeship, Lewis attends university once a week and aims to finish his course next year. Completing the degree will ensure that he will be fully qualified by 20 years old in his field.
Lewis added: “I aim to work at Seymour while completing my degree.
“After that, I’m interested in seeking a Chartership in Civil Engineering.
“I hope to make my way up the ladder at Seymour. I am passionate about civil engineering and it is something I’ll look to do for the rest of my career.”