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Leeds College of Building boosts apprenticeships with ICE partnership

08 March 2019

The college this week opened its doors to students to promote alternative career paths to civil engineering as part of National Apprenticeships Week. 

Leeds College of Building boosts apprenticeships with ICE partnership

Civil engineering apprenticeships at Leeds College of Building (LCB) have been given a boost after an academic partnership agreement with ICE was officially signed.

It's the first time ICE has formed an academic partnership with a further education college, rather than a university.

Under the agreement, the local ICE team will provide a bespoke programme of support activity to students at the college throughout the academic year. The focus of activity is currently on helping students achieve EngTech MICE status.

“This exciting new agreement opens up opportunities for students to engage directly with industry," said Gillian Elvy, ICE Membership Manager - North England.

National Apprenticeship Week

The partnership was made formal at an event held at the college, which also celebrated National Apprenticeship this week.

Local school and college students visited LCB to learn about the potential further study available there, through Level 3 and 4 apprenticeships.

They met with current students and met experienced engineers from BAM Nuttall and staff from ICE to learn about real-life civil engineering projects, and to find out what skills they need to start a career in civil engineering.

QUEST awards

ICE Director of Membership Sean Harris spoke to students at the event about the value of a professional qualification with ICE.

He also presented certificates to the Yorkshire and Humber winners of the QUEST Technician and Technician Plus Scholarship awards from 2019/19.

These awards are a sign of excellence. The winners were recognised for their abilities and potential, and the scholarships help boost recipients’ professional development.

Six recipients were shortlisted for interview from 24 applications.

The QUEST Technician award winners were Ruth Watson and Will Rose from Mott MacDonald, and Tim O’Connor from Aone Plus (Jacobs).

The QUEST Technician Plus winners were Amy Farrell and Joshua Clarke from Mott MacDonald, and Chris Meredith from Jacobs.

All the recipients, apart from Amy Farrell, were students at LCB. Farrell is a student at Leeds Beckett University.

“The 2019 scholars are all very talented and deserving winners. Their enthusiasm, determination and dedication clearly impressed the panel of judges. There’s no doubt they all have promising careers ahead of them," said Elvy.

Ruth Watson - an award-winning apprentice

Ruth Watson also won the NCE Apprentice of the Year accolade in 2018.

She originally planned to study civil engineering at university, but a change in circumstances led her to pursuing the career via an apprenticeship instead.

In a blog for ICE, she said she was shocked at how many different levels of apprenticeships exist.

“Finding out that on a degree apprenticeship I could still acquire a degree, which would be fully sponsored by my employer, while learning on the job, was very exciting,” she said.

“It also left me confused about why there’s a certain stigma about apprenticeships and why they aren’t publicised more.”

The benefits of an apprenticeship

Watson wants to reverse this trend and highlight the benefits of an apprenticeship.

“Being an apprentice comes with great opportunities for learning and applying civil engineering knowledge as soon as you learn it, which is great for someone like me, a hands-on learner.

“I’d encourage students to consider an apprenticeship when looking into higher education. University is a great option for some, however, some thrive learning on the job.”

  • Anh Nguyen, digital content lead at ICE