Life after apprenticeships

At Balfour Beatty, your career will continue to develop long after your apprenticeship ends. 

We offer challenging apprenticeships across the UK in a range of sectors, each providing important skills and training for a successful career. Many of our our senior employees started out as Balfour Beatty apprentices  - find out how they progressed in their careers below:

Grant Barbour, Project Manager

Grant Barbour

I joined what was then 'Balfour Kilpatrick' in September 1982 as an electrical craft apprentice and was based at the River Cart Walk Office.

I had the opportunity to work in many different sectors during my four years. This includes healthcare, retail, education and pharmaceutical/chemical. The projects were wide and varied and each job was different.

Learning a trade gave me the opportunity to go anywhere and do anything. Getting the basics done at college was vital. Learning from peers/ colleagues in 3rd and 4th years gave me more confidence.

Work hard and learn. The duration of the apprenticeship is a time to knuckle down and make a name for yourself as being reliable and trustworthy. When you gain a good reputation the world is your oyster.

Working with and learning from different people was fun and sometimes a challenge, but ultimately it develops your own character.

I am currently a Project Manager at Ineos Grangemouth. I oversee the E&I Framework contract within the Olefins and Polymers side of their business.

Aaron Farmer, Faults and Services Engineer

Aaron Farmer

I started my career with Balfour Beatty as an Electrical Apprentice in September 2004 and would recommend it to anyone. My first job was working with the maintenance team in Aberthaw Power Station in Wales.

I was soon a key member of the team in the power station. Our Cardiff office then won a project on a school. I went to work there installing trunking, lights, wiring sockets - sometimes working with an electrician, sometimes working with a labourer as a lead electrician.

From the school I went to a large shopping centre project carrying our similar jobs. It was during this project I completed my apprenticeship and became a fully qualified electrician.

Throughout these works I was attending college once a week and every six weeks having a week block of college. I had computer-based exams and had to fill out a log book of works completed. I was required to provide evidence of my work, along with my supervisor's signature. The apprenticeship lasted approximately three and half years with a technical practical exam called the AM2 at the end.

Not long after becoming qualified was I assigned a first year apprentice to start passing on my newly learned skills.

During my apprenticeship I was put forward for an apprentice of the year award. I had to go for an 8 hour skill test followed by an interview. I was then presented the award at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

On completion of my apprenticeship Balfour Beatty then sponsored me to study for my Higher National Certificate (HNC).

After working as an electrician for a few years I made the step in to the high voltage (HV) cabling side. I worked in the civil team for a year to get the initial experience base knowledge.

I am currently the Faults and Services Engineer based in Cardiff covering Wales and the South West. I mainly work for Western Power Distribution and National Grid on cables from 33kV up to 400kV. My contract does approximately £2 million of work per year.

I run a team of different disciplines including, oil technicians, jointers and civil operatives. I’m responsible for all the commercial aspects of my contract. This includes liaising with customers, writing risk assessments and method statements and attending cable faults. I also sign timesheets, arrange subcontractors, as well as viewing and pricing small projects.

Colin Chew, Site Manager

Colin Chew

I did a four-year apprenticeship with `block release’ to Tottenham College. The first two years covered a Pipe Fitting City & Guilds. The third year covered a Gas Welding City & Guilds, and the fourth covered a Metal Arc Welding City & Guilds.

I decided to do an Apprenticeship because my father always said `it will set you up for life - they will always need tradesmen’.  My brother (recently a retired electrician) and myself are proving him right!

The first two weeks as a fresh from school 16 year old, was spent at the company’s own training centre in Stockwell, South London. My first site posting was at Thorn Electrics, Enfield installing fire protection sprinkler systems – I had never seen pipes that big!

I definitely knew after that first week on site that I had chosen the right career path.  I hadn’t realised there was so much involved with installing services into a building. I was in awe of all these skills I was witnessing and now being a part of.

Everyone from the top site manager to the store man was interested in what I was doing and what I aspired to become.

With expert tuition and encouragement from the college, the supervisors and tradesmen on site, I gained confidence as well as knowledge.

With an apprenticeship, you are on your way to accomplishing something you can be proud of. You will always have this accomplishment at the front of your resume.

I believe apprenticeships have changed now. There are more and more choices available for personal development. My current role is  Site Manager for Balfour Beatty Kilpatrick.

My advice is to enjoy it and carry on learning new skills and new ways of doing things. Ask questions, become an information sponge, and use it as a key to open the thousands of opportunities that are out there.

Craig Jolly, Senior Electrical Engineer

Craig Jolly

I am now in my 10th year with Balfour Beatty.

I started out as a General Operative apprentice in January 2006 and then moved onto the Scottish Joint Industry Board's (SJIB's) Adult Training Scheme.

I'm now a a Senior Electrical Engineer. I primarily deal with high voltage operations covering all the market sectors that Balfour Beatty works in. I am currently on site at GSK Montrose in the role of Hight Voltage (HV) Senior Authorised Person.

Following my apprenticeship, I took many development opportunities. I now have qualifications in Advanced High Voltage Operations, and I am a member of the Institution of Engineering & Technology and Engineering Council.

I was attracted to Balfour Beatty as a large company carrying out work that I was interested in. My father is also a Balfour Beatty employee and he will have 40 years’ service this Easter!

Fraser Fleming, Authorising Engineer

I‘ve worked at Balfour Beatty for the past 32 years, after joining as an electrical apprentice In September 1983.

Over this period I’ve held various roles including Site Supervisor and Project Engineer. In my current role, I am an Authorising Engineer.

My knowledge and experience is all from the Building Services industry, in particular the administration and delivery of Balfour Beatty’s ‘Safe Systems of Work’.

I have been supported through the years by various managers and colleagues.

My current role gives me the opportunity to pass on the knowledge I’ve gained over many years. This includes good habits to develop and bad habits to stop. I feel I am making a difference in keeping my colleagues safe.

Stuart Glennie, Production Supervisor

Stuart Glennie

I've worked at Balfour Beatty since 1974. I began my career as an Apprentice Electrician, choosing this scheme because it was local and offered a great future with a trade.

I worked my way through to be an Approved Electrician and then onward to be a Technician Electrician. In my time at Balfour Beatty I have been lucky to travel the world on various contracts, including Sri Lanka, Bahrain and Turkey.

I’m now in charge of Balfour Beatty’s Inspection & Test Department. I’m responsible for the day to day running of the department and all the test equipment required for the Commissioning Engineers on site. I take an active part in testing the panels that pass through the factory.

I enjoy what I do because no job is ever the same, even though you are still working on protection and control equipment.

Bill Naismith, Unit Director

I began working with Balfour Beatty in 1983, as an apprentice with the Scottish Joint Industry Board.

I currently manage the switchgear manufacturing unit, which specialises in power solutions for Rail and commercial applications. The manufacturing unit delivers low and high voltage switchboards to a variety of clients including London Underground and Network Rail.

I reached my current position through progressive stages from apprentice, draughtsman, engineer, project manager, operations manager then unit director. I always wanted to better myself and, through hard work, I have done so.

I have enjoyed progressing through the various stages of my career. I've been given many opportunities to transfer to other business areas to further my development.