• 8 March 2018

Why an apprenticeship can give you a head start

Our apprentice James King talks about the practical knowledge he gains in the work place whilst studying Civil Engineering part-time at City of Westminster College.

Since joining Waterman in London and beginning my apprenticeship in Civil Engineering, I have had the opportunity to work on a variety of exciting projects at different stages of the design phase, facing a new challenge for each one. I really enjoy the ability to work independently whilst learning on the job.

Real-life Skills

Having an interest in engineering design, I decided an apprenticeship would provide a good opportunity to gain skills in an office environment and participate in engineering projects rather than just being an observer. The real benefits are learning from peers and gaining knowledge of working on real construction projects whilst obtaining recognised qualifications.

Before joining Waterman, I was quite shy and found it difficult to articulate my ideas. Being part of a team has really made a difference to my communication skills. Interacting with people and solving problems together has improved my self-confidence. I have also learnt a lot about the construction design process, facing a new challenge for each project, which would have been hard to completely grasp from classroom-based training.

Specialist knowledge and challenges

Having the opportunity to work on both the Structural and Civil side of Waterman’s projects has broadened my understanding of these areas, which is great. I’m not sure I would have had any specialist knowledge without the opportunities given to me by my colleagues to work on calculations, using AutoCAD, Revit and other specialist programmes.

The biggest challenge for me is juggling college alongside the projects I work on. Thankfully, everyone in my team is extremely supportive. They are happy to share their experiences and knowledge, particularly when I have to write academic assignments.

 The most exciting project I’ve worked on is the redevelopment of the Gondar Gardens Reservoir in West Hampstead, London. This ambitious scheme involves converting a disused reservoir into the premises of a new retirement home. It was intriguing to incorporate the inclining structure of the reservoir into the innovative design, which I found fulfilling as an engineer.

Future Aspirations

Since completing my NVQ and Level 3 qualification, I have started my HNC and my aim is to study for a BEng or MEng degree at university. I want to be professionally recognised by either the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) or the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). I am certain my apprenticeship will help me achieve professional success in the future.

James King
Engineering Technician Apprentice

To find about more apprenticeship opportunities with us, download our Apprenticeship leaflet.

You Might Also Like…

  • Tahirah Tang-Campbell

    Our apprentice Tahirah Tang-Campbell talks about training to become a Structural Engineer and the benefits of gaining experience in the real world.

  • Jessica Humphries

    “Every day at Waterman is different, there is always something new to do and learn.”

  • Daniel Edmonds 

    “I’m constantly learning through practical work.”