GRAHAM underlines commitment to next generation of construction workforce

GRAHAM underlines commitment to next generation of construction workforce image
Alexis Smith, Graduate Apprentice

As part of Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2024 (4-8 March), GRAHAM is shining a light on its dedicated apprentice scheme through its GRAHAM Academy and the role it plays in nurturing the next generation of the construction workforce.

Providing training and development programmes, the Academy provides training at various levels. This includes a graduate development programme, apprenticeships, work experience, and industrial and undergraduate placements.

Over the last year, the contractor has welcomed a record number of new apprentices to the Building North division, almost doubling headcount by 18 to 38 in roles including trainee engineers, quantity surveyors, civil engineers and site managers.

Complemented with academic studies at a range of partner universities and colleges, apprentices are working on site at a range of landmark GRAHAM developments. This includes at Candleriggs Square build-to-rent (BTR) and Bath Street purpose-built student accommodation developments in Glasgow. In Edinburgh, apprentices are on site at a mixed-use development in Abbey Lane and the Bonnington Road BTR scheme, near Leith.

Other highlights include graduate apprentice, Alexis Smith (22), being shortlisted for the highly coveted Graduate Apprentice of the Year at Skills Development Scotland’s Scottish Apprentice Awards. Alexis is a trainee planner at GRAHAM whilst completing a civil engineering graduate apprenticeship course with University of the West of Scotland.

GRAHAM has also welcomed Foundation Apprentice, Logan Forsyth (17), into a permanent role as trainee site manager at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. Logan joined as an apprentice straight from Bannerman High School and quickly realised that a career in construction was the right path for him, impressing the team with his enthusiasm and hands-on approach to learning.

Lucy Threlfall (17) joined GRAHAM in 2023 and completed an administration apprenticeship within nine months before going on to become a trainee engineer, as part of the NC Civil Engineering apprenticeship at Glasgow Kelvin College. After helping to deliver Scotland’s largest build-to-rent scheme, Lucy has re-located to Belfast to work on the city’s first BTR development, The Loft Lines.

Lucey Threlfall

Lucy said:

“My advice to anyone thinking of going into the construction industry would be to consider all of the different roles available and ask as many questions as you can, which will help to determine what route you want to explore.

“I left school not knowing what I wanted to do, and I never thought that I would end up working in construction, let alone leaving home at 17 to work in Belfast. However, the support and guidance always available from the GRAHAM team has opened up an exciting career path as well as training opportunities.”

Debbie Rutherford, Head of Social Impact & Support Services at GRAHAM, said:

“As an industry, we have a responsibility to ensure that we have dedicated training and apprenticeship programmes that encourage people to start a career in construction.

“The blend of practical experience and academic studies gives apprentices the best start in the industry, enabling them to gain valuable experience, while in turn, creating a candidate pool of highly skilled, experienced potential employees. Lucy and Alexis are just two of our graduates who have enjoyed fantastic success over the last year and it’s great to see their confidence grow every day at GRAHAM.”

Other incentives that GRAHAM has introduced over the last year include the Outward Bound Trust programme within its Young Person’s forum. The dedicated networking group is made up of around 60 young people aged 16-30 working in the Building North region and they are invited to collaborate and share feedback on how the future of the business, ensuring that decision making within the business takes into consideration tomorrow’s leaders.

GRAHAM has also partnered with Bellahouston Academy to provide support to young people who wish to explore career options surrounding construction, offering supervised walkthroughs of sites to gain first-hand experience of the work being carried out.