The financial and practical benefits of an apprenticeship
Our apprentice Tahirah Tang-Campbell talks about training to become a Structural Engineer and the benefits of gaining experience in the real world.
Being a creative person who loves design, technology and innovation, engineering was an excellent career path for me. I put a lot of research in before I made up my mind and Waterman seemed to be offering the best opportunity to progress. I am currently training to become a Structural Engineer at our London office whilst studying part-time for a degree in Civil Engineering at London South Bank University. The main benefit as an apprentice would unquestionably be the professional experience and practical knowledge I am acquiring in the real world. It is also really encouraging to have a sponsored degree paid for by the company, a monthly salary, paid training courses to develop my skills, as well as having the opportunity to network with other professionals within the industry.
Learning while you work
My courses at university include Engineering Mechanics, Fluid Mechanics, Soil Mechanics and Design of Concrete and Structural Elements. As a trainee, it is interesting to be able to apply my theoretical skills learnt at university with the software modelling at work. Gaining that practical knowledge in the real work environment makes it a lot easier to understand and keep up with the coursework.
Already in my first few weeks as an apprentice, I learnt to use design and construction software such as AutoCAD and Revit. I started with simple calculations of structures, building modelling and reading detailed drawings and as progressed I assisted the team, particularly Simon Measures, a Delegate Engineer and Mateusz Rak, a Senior Revit Technician, with CAD drawings and structural calculations of basic structures.
Ambitions for the future
I am aiming to become a fully qualified Structural Engineer after graduating with a 1st class honours in Civil Engineering. I then hope to pursue my master’s in engineering whilst working towards Chartership status. To help develop my professional skills, I hope to play a bigger role on larger projects. I am very excited about my career, and would like to represent Waterman by conducting presentations at schools and colleges, to raise awareness and encourage students to consider an apprenticeship as an alternative route to higher education.
Applying for Apprenticeships
To young people who are considering a career in engineering, I would say: just go for it! Research the field, as there is an entire world of engineering to explore and so many different sectors you might be interested in. I would also suggest visiting apprenticeship fairs, as they are informative and gives you the chance to talk to companies and current apprentices to get more insight. Look for apprenticeship vacancies on websites such as www.gov.co.uk and thebigchoice.co.uk. I also signed up to email updates from www.notgoingtouni.co.uk, which is where I first saw the opportunity with Waterman.
Structural Engineer Apprentice
To find out about more apprenticeship opportunities with us, download our Apprenticeship leaflet.