In September 2022 we saw five members of the team start an apprenticeship as part of their role at Waldeck, two of whom are Lara Bird and Kelly Holpin, who work within our Commercial & Risk Management team in Birmingham. 

As such, we thought it was time to catch up with them to find out how they are settling in, and why they would recommend an apprenticeship to others forging careers within the industry.

Image: Lara (middle left) and Kelly (middle right) pictured with Commercial & Risk Management Director Graham Wright, and Project Operations Director Kirsty Tune.

Lara Bird – Construction Quantity Surveying Technician Apprenticeship

Job title: Lead Project Co-ordinator

Joined Waldeck: September 2021

Office: Birmingham

Place of study: Institute of Technology, Dudley

Kelly Holpin – Construction Quantity Surveying Technician Apprenticeship

Job title: Project Co-ordinator

Joined Waldeck: May 2022

Office: Birmingham

Place of study: Institute of Technology, Dudley

Hi both! Please can you tell us why you chose an Apprenticeship to further your education?


I began working for Waldeck in September 2021 and had been taking on more roles and responsibilities within my Project Co-ordinator role for the Birmingham office.

This in turn has led to the Senior Management Team asking Kelly Holpin and I if we would be interested in beginning our training in the field of Quantity Surveying to be able to offer a broader range of support to the Commercial & Risk Management team.

This apprenticeship means I can still work and gain experience as well as gaining a qualification in Quantity Surveying, which will give me options in the future for further advancing my career!


An apprenticeship seemed like the most sensible way to further my education, having to support a family whilst training meant full time education was not an available option for me. With an apprenticeship I have the balance of being able to work and train at the same time.

What are you looking forward to most?


I am looking forward to gaining a more in depth knowledge into the world of Quantity Surveying which will help me to understand more of the work that I assist with in my team. I am looking forward to expanding my knowledge and applying that in my everyday tasks for work. Overall, I am most looking forward to the challenge.


Qualifying! It was a bit of a shock to the system having homework again after 20 years of being out of education.

From what you’ve seen so far – would you recommend someone starting an apprenticeship and why?


I have been studying now for 4 months, and have completed three assignments. My confidence is growing and I am enjoying the challenge of learning in a college environment again.

As this style of learning means I can work at the same time, I would definitely recommend this approach to gaining extra qualifications.


I would yes, I think learning on the job helps with your knowledge when you are at college and visa versa so I will (hopefully) progress quicker than I would have if I was in full time education.

What career aspirations do you have for 5 years’ time?


In 5 years’ time, I would like to have the qualifications to progress my career as far as an Apprenticeship can take me, I’m looking forward to the challenge, and am grateful for the opportunity to do so!


I am no Richard Branson!!! I would like to feel that in 5 years’ time I will have some qualifications and will be confidently progressing. I am very thankful for the opportunity.

Project Operations Director, Kirsty Tune, shared:

“Both Lara and Kelly have been working incredibly hard since they joined and especially since taking on their apprenticeship journey.

“I know at times it’s been a juggle with work, homework, attending college and of course raising a family but they have been completely committed and professional along the way.

“Both Kelly and Lara are excellent examples of how you can change your career path at any time and still learn new skills. I’m sure that with their hard work and dedication they will continue to be a huge asset to our business growth as well as their individual growth in their future career paths!”

Find out more about one of our other apprentices, Finley Nottingham in his recent interview >