From education to employment

Beard’s ‘sandwich’ scheme helps Guildford trainee into construction career

Guildford-based construction firm Beard is handing 20-year-old ‘sandwich’ trainee Lewis Simpson the tools to follow a career in construction through a year-long industry placement at the firm. ‘Sandwich’ students typically spend a year gaining work experience with industry professionals like Beard between their second and third years of university study.

Lewis has always known he wanted to follow a career in construction: “My dad is a floor layer,” he says. “So, I have had site experience from the age of 16, working with him at the weekends and during school holidays. I think I always knew I wanted to go into something similar.

“Originally, I had four offers from different construction companies for industry placements, but I chose Beard because they were going to be able to give me experience in a broader range of construction. During my placement I’ll be having a go at numerous site-management activities, from site inductions and permit-issuing, to liaising with subcontractors. As my experience grows, I am being given more responsibilities within site management.”

Lewis, who is studying for a BEng (Hons) degree in Construction Engineering Management with the University of Portsmouth, has been working on Beard’s £11.2 million luxury spa development at South Lodge country house hotel in Horsham. He says: “Everyone at Beard has made me very welcome and it’s a fun atmosphere to work in. I know that if I’m ever stuck on anything, I can ask one of the guys and they will help me understand the process if it’s a new activity or remind me if it’s something that I have already learnt.

“Industry placements are important because they give you good exposure to the construction industry as well as enabling you to put into practice what you have been learning about at university. Beard’s structure enables you to get the scope of a whole job, rather than just a part of it, showing you construction as a whole. I’ve learnt loads already which will help me in my last year of university.”

Building a future in construction

Construction is one of the UK’s largest industries and employs around 2.2 million people. But the industry faces a rapidly ageing population with huge levels of retirement over the coming years and fewer new entrants. The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) has reported that the industry will need to find 157,000 new recruits by 2021 to keep up with demand. One of the key ways in which the industry is attempting to tackle this is through hands-on trainee schemes which construction firms like Beard are providing.

Beard invests significantly in the long-term development of people, from trainees through to Board directors, to help them to achieve their full potential and be the best they can be. This approach delivers not only a talented workforce, able to deliver high-quality construction projects, but also a happy and confident team.

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