National Apprenticeship Week: Catch up with Joe Baker

March 7, 2019 10:12 am

This week is National Apprenticeship Week, so we caught up with Joe Baker to talk about his apprenticeship at Waldeck, and experiences so far.

Joe has been working at Waldeck since 2017, where at the age of 18 we welcomed him as a Trainee Technician as part of our apprenticeship scheme. Joe is currently in the first year of his Level 3 Construction Technical and Professional: Construction Contracting Operations course at Lincoln College, which he is due to complete in 2021.

The Waldeck Apprenticeship Scheme recruits groups of school and college leavers and graduates onto our bespoke programme which combines their studies with on-the-job training, enabling them to become fully qualified CAD Designers and Engineers working on real-life projects. Students are offered ongoing learning support, along with excellent career opportunities across our network of nationwide offices.

Tell us about your experience of doing an apprenticeship at Waldeck

During my apprenticeship so far, I have been balancing my one day a week at college, and college work with working at Waldeck on live multi-disciplinary projects for a variety of clients.

Primarily, I have been involved with projects such as Forge Island for Rotherham Borough Council and Doncaster Delivery Unit for Buckingham Group. My main roles have been to work closely within the Civil Engineering team, carrying out drawing work from engineering designs, document control,  variations and keeping our document management systems up to date; I have been using software such as AutoCAD, Civils 3D and Revit.

I was also given the opportunity to complete my BIM Essentials course, and train on niche software relevant to different projects I have been working on.

What first interested you in a career in construction?

My Dad owns a local construction business, so it is something I have grown up around. I used to work with him at the weekends when I was at school, and really enjoyed it, so decided to take BTEC construction subjects at Sixth Form, before I then considered my routes into a career within the industry and chose to pursue this through an apprenticeship.

What has been your personal career highlight so far?

I have really enjoyed my time at Waldeck so far, working as part of a strong team to achieve tight deadlines and deliver quality work.

I have actually surprised myself with how quickly I am learning and progressing, and feel settled in my role and positive about my future prospects. It’s great to feel like I have achieved something at the end of each working day, especially as each project we work on is so different.

What are your plans for the future?

For now, I want to keep doing what I am doing, stay focused on my College course and developing my role at work. Having the support of my mentor, and other experts in the business is helping me to pick up new skills and expand my knowledge, and I would definitely like to continue to learn about the other disciplines too.

After completing my Level 3, I would then like to do my HNC and go on to do a degree, and perhaps become Chartered at some point in the future!

In the face of a skills gap and lack of people choosing a career in STEM subjects, how would you inspire someone to take a similar route into the workplace?

I would say if you are considering taking a route into construction or any other STEM subject, it is important to think about what interests you the most. I have seen first-hand how the roles can be so varied, creative and rewarding.

For me, an apprenticeship was the best option, it has been a great way to get into the workplace, combining education with hands-on learning and transferable skills that I wouldn’t necessarily have learnt at University, such as liaising with clients and working within a design team. The social aspects have been great too!

Tim Leach, Director of Civil and Structural Engineering, commented:

“As soon as Joe joined the Company, he very quickly integrated himself with his team and the wider Waldeck community, within his first week he was working on a range live projects. The apprenticeship scheme has provided Joe with a platform for kick starting his career surrounded by experienced and knowledgeable colleagues and supported by a structured technical learning programme.”

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