NEWS / ACE News / TAC: Ten Years After

ACE News

13 APR 2021


A decade on, we catch up with the first cohort of TAC apprentices

As we approach a very special ten year anniversary, Kimberly Murphy, Apprenticeship and Skills Manager at ACE, reached out to some of the very first apprentices that started on a TAC developed standard in September 2011.

A decade on how are they faring? Where are they in their careers? Did they achieve what they expected? Would they recommend the apprenticeship route to young people starting out in their careers?

The civil engineering technician apprenticeship was the first TAC facilitated apprenticeship supported by large consultancy businesses and initially just the one training provider, South Thames College. The first cohort was 14 apprentices, 12 of which are still working within the industry.

As the route was the only available apprenticeship at the time, the cohort have all taken slightly different journeys through the years to reach their current goals. They have all undergone  a form of professional review, proving the quality of their work with either the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) or Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).

1. Regina Tumblepot (Morgan Sindell)

Regina was our first female apprentice. After completing her BTEC, she continued at South Thames College to study a Civil Engineering HNC, then at Coventry University where she completed her BEng in Civil Engineering over three years. Regina has stayed with Morgan Sindell since signing up for her apprenticeship. She is currently on maternity leave, applying her multi-tasking skills in a different way, and due back to work later in the year.

”Its been great to see how much change there has been in terms of how many more women there in the industry, when I started in 2011 I was the only female on my site for a long time but now I’m working on a site where there are an equal number of male and female engineers.”

When asked whether she would recommend an apprenticeship, she is effusive: “Go for it! It is an amazing and rewarding experience, it does take hard work and commitment, but you really do get out what you put in! I have never once thought about changing industries. There’s so much that the industry has to give… you never get bored! 

2. Sean Butler (FM Conway)

Sean, who now works with FM Conway, is a project manager, with plans on completing his IEng review this winter with ICE. He took the BEng Civil Engineering route at London South Bank University after his level 3, achieving a first class honours. His future plans are to on bigger and more complex projects and to gain his chartership.

“I would really like to be involved in the development of a new high-end hotel or residential development. Especially abroad in places like Dubai or in the US.”

On his decision to study an apprenticeship he said, “It was the obvious choice as it was supported learning and provided interesting work, as well as getting paid! In my opinion you could always go back to university and study full time but never get the opportunity and experience of an apprenticeship again.”

3. Matthew Russel (WSP in the UK)

Matthew, who started off at Ringway Jacobs, now has plans to progress to Principal Technician this year with his current employer WSP.  After his Level 3, he completed a HNC and then HND in Civil Engineering and the Built Environment between 2015 and 2019.

“I came into the industry straight from school without any expectations. Looking back over the last 10 years I’d have to say with everything this career has given me it has exceeded my expectations. Engineering has a good community of knowledgeable people who are always willing to help. I started as a 17 year old and I’m nearly 27, it’s definitely shaped who I am into becoming an adult.”

4. Martin Lambert (Elliot Wood Partnership)

Martin, a senior civil engineer at Elliot Wood Partnership, initially completing his level 3 apprenticeship with  Capita. He is aiming to achieve CEng MICE by end of 2021. He completed the BEng in Civil Engineering on a part time basis. His company funded this route as there was no formal degree apprenticeship scheme at the time.  

He said: “I have been offered a number of formal training opportunities throughout my career, however the greatest support I received was having an involvement in projects that felt meaningful at an early stage in my career. By the time I has finished my degree I already had around eight years industry experience and a BEng in Civil Engineering.” 

5. Tom King (Atkins)

Finally, we met with Tom, a Senior Engineer at Atkins. He gained EngTech in 2015 and currently applying for IEng  membership. He is currently leading an exciting project for SES Water that allows him to directly contribute to the wider water industry aim of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2030. 

He said: ““I have found that starting my career in this way has been invaluable when it comes to understanding the bigger picture of projects and the potential challenges at each stage.”

Really excitingly, Tom has big plans through his role as an early careers’ recruitment champion within Atkins to help new staff into the industry – passing on the support he received as an apprentice a decade ago.

Kimberly Murphy commented. “I was impressed by the experience these apprentices have gained over the last 10 years. I remember meeting them on day one of their apprenticeship and their career progression demonstrates how successful their initial apprenticeship was to their career. Witnessing first hand their success and the varied routes they have all taken in their careers so far is wonderful. I wish them all luck and look forward to seeing where they are in another ten years!”

Interested in finding out more about working with apprentices? ACE and EIC members can get in touch with Kimberly Murphy today. Alternatively, please explore our TAC mini-hub.