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Highways apprentices on road to success

Published on Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Picture shows City Highways staff and apprentices with Cllrs Clarke and Myers (back)

FIVE trainees in the city council’s highways team have successfully completed their Level 2 Apprenticeship qualifications in highways maintenance.

Ash Walker, Gavin Carter, Josh King, Adam Warwick and Brandon Moore have gained the qualifications after more than two years of hard work, and have now all gone on to full-time employment in highways works with Leicester City Council.

The recruits are among the first in the country to complete a new apprenticeship in this area, after a restructuring from the previous NVQ qualifications.

Ash, who now works for the city council as a trainee contracts supervisor, was one of the first to receive a distinction under the new standard across both the knowledge and practical tests of his apprenticeship.

He said: “It’s been a great achievement for all involved and one I’m very proud of. I started here with very little knowledge or understanding of the highways section, but with the guidance and support from skilled staff here and our trainer, Paul Pownall, we have all achieved what we set out to achieve.

“What I enjoyed most about the apprenticeship was working with individuals who took pride in their work. The training programme also allowed me to progress in a way that suited me.

“It opened doors for me, I am on a career path I am enjoying. I hope to continue to move up once I have mastered my trade.”

The other apprentices have gone on to take up jobs in areas including laying tarmac, laying paving slabs and temporary traffic management.

Operations manager Nick Weston, who designed the council’s work programme for the apprentices, said: “During their training, each apprentice spent time with various different highways teams carrying out the whole range of activities we carry out as a highways maintenance unit. They were then asked to score their experience in each area. At the end of their 12-month placement programme, they were able to choose which area of work they felt would be most suited to them.

“We’re very pleased with the quality of candidates we received for the apprenticeships, and we are proud of their achievements.

“This is the third batch of apprentices we have trained up, and applications this time round were the most we have had. We look at applicants’ skills level and their interest in the construction industry, but there is no age limit, it’s just about finding the right candidates.”

Partners in the apprenticeship programme include recruiters Salad Skills, training providers Leicester College and Construct Training.

Each apprentice undertook a written assessment, a practical assessment and took part in a professional discussion to achieve their qualification.

Assistant city mayor for jobs and skills Cllr Danny Myers said: “This is a great scheme which leads to full-time employment in our skilled highways department. Despite the recent challenges of the pandemic, these apprentices have been working throughout and have demonstrated their commitment and willingness to learn. It’s very important that the council leads the way in providing opportunities like these for local people, and I wish this scheme continuing success.”

Deputy city mayor for environment and transportation, Cllr Adam Clarke, added: “Ensuring our road infrastructure is up to scratch is an essential job for the council. By taking on and training up apprentices, we benefit from staff who learn their trade on our city streets and can then put their skills to great use by helping to keep Leicester moving.”

The next batch of highways apprentices will begin to be recruited in the autumn. To find out more about the range of employment, training and internship opportunities at Leicester City Council, visit www.leicester.gov.uk/jobs

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