HQ surveyor praises apprentices

A Bargoed man learning new skills and earning qualifications while working on Gwent Police’s new headquarters is encouraging others to consider an apprenticeship.

Calum Jones, 25, was speaking as part of National Apprenticeship Week (8-15 February), which celebrates apprenticeships and the impact they make on individuals, employers and the economy.

Calum left school after doing his GCSEs and, having worked in a variety of trades, is currently undertaking an apprenticeship with BAM Construction. This will see him become a fully qualified quantity surveyor, with a degree-level qualification, in just over five years.

Calum said: “I left school with no real idea about what I wanted to do next. I did a sports science course in college and then worked for a few years as a scaffolder. Even though most of my family work in construction, I had never really considered it as a career option.

“Someone mentioned the apprenticeship with BAM and signing up was the best thing I could have done. It is a real job where I am getting a lot of experience working across different areas of the business, and I am being paid to learn and do my qualifications at the same time.”

Calum is currently working for BAM Construction, which is delivering Gwent Police’s new headquarters at the Llantarnam Industrial Estate in Cwmbran. The 5,178sqm facility will accommodate 480 officers and staff, and will be home to the control room, which is the first point of contact for 999 calls to the police, major crime teams, training functions, support services and senior management. It is due to be completed in the autumn.

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, said: “The apprenticeship route can open up opportunities for those that otherwise might feel excluded from higher level qualifications. They can learn as they earn which can only be a positive as people progress through the earlier years of their careers.

“I am delighted to see that apprentices in Gwent are gaining valuable experience working on the new headquarters. It is just one of the ways, that includes employing local people and using local suppliers, that the construction is benefiting the local economy.”

The theme for this year's National Apprentice Week is 'build the future', with the aim for the campaign to encourage employers to celebrate the diversity of opportunity and value that apprenticeships bring, and how they can help people and employers build their future.

Calum said: “There is a lot of pressure for people to go to university but there are people out there like me that want to get hands on experience and need to start earning a wage. I would encourage anyone who is considering their future career options to think about doing an apprenticeship scheme.”