West Midlands tunnel engineer joins Sir John's team of apprentices

ICE West Midlands graduate Sam Hewlings has been chosen as one of Sir John Armitt’s president’s apprentices.

Sam Hewlings (second right) and his fellow apprentices with Sir john Armitt
Sam Hewlings (second right) and his fellow apprentices with Sir john Armitt

ICE's newest president has continued with tradition by selecting six young members to work with him and the Institution. One of these successful candidates is Sam Hewlings, graduate tunnel design engineer at UnPS in Rugby.

Sam who lives in Leamington Spa and works in Rugby said:

“I studied civil engineering and then tunnelling at Warwick, but spent much of my time on other things like rowing (I was on the club’s committee for four years), being a trustee of the students’ union, and setting up a not-for-profit that promotes inclusion and challenges homophobia in sport in schools and universities.”

“Fewer than 1 in 30 apprenticeships in construction are taken up by women, and the UK’s engineering profession has the lowest proportion of women in the EU (less than 1 in 10). It’s a similar story with ethnic minority groups and LGBT people. We know that diverse teams are more effective, but as an industry we probably couldn’t be less diverse. Many of our projects are funded by billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money so we have a duty to be as effective and efficient as possible. At the same time, there’s a huge proportion of young people who don’t see this industry as being for them – and that just can’t be right. The industry is welcoming to anyone who wants to work in it, but we need to do more to make that clear by proactively engaging with the under-represented groups.”

Sam says that most exciting thing about the apprenticeship is: “Hopefully make a small difference towards creating a more diverse industry.”

His advice for anyone thinking about getting into civil engineering is:

“Civil engineers build tangible things that help people. At the end of a project, you can see the difference you’ve made to people’s everyday lives – whether it’s infrastructure like Crossrail that helps people get around, or a new school or hospital. There’s a huge skills shortage at the moment, which young people coming into the industry can really take advantage of in terms of better job security, higher pay and companies investing more in their training.”

The President's Apprentice scheme gives graduate and technician members a unique opportunity to gain experience, develop skills and learn about the industry. You could meet and engage with senior engineering professionals, getting invaluable insight into industry development.

Find out more about the President's Apprentice scheme