After a nine-month national challenge to raise awareness of the benefits of apprenticeships across Balfour Beatty, a team of seven apprentices from the Midlands earned their title as the 2020 Balfour Beatty Apprentice Team of the Year.
The winners were determined in a Grand Final Presentation delivered virtually by the top four National Finalists teams for a judging panel broadcast live from Brathay Trust in Cumbria. The four presentations and Awards ceremony were watched by a UK wide audience of Balfour Beatty supporters on Tuesday 7 September. The EDGE of the Midlands team jointly led by Lauren Jones, Trainee Quantity Surveyor with Living Places, and Nadeera Khan, Apprentice Civil Engineer with Regional North and Midlands earned the highest score for their Presentation entitled The Future Growth of Apprenticeships at Balfour Beatty.
Other team members included Darren Chikono, Trainee Civil Engineer from Major Projects, Jessica Buxton, Apprentice Draughtsperson from Power T&D, Ryan Evans, Apprentice Civil Engineer from Major Projects, Josh Hayward, Apprentice Civil Engineer from Major Projects and Zack Jenkins, Trainee Quantity Surveyor from Living Places.
The team will receive an engraved Balfour Beatty Apprentice Team of the Year trophy and each team member will receive 500 Balfour Beatty shares as part of their award.
Resilience and adaptability were key this year, as Brathay’s Business Development Lead, Linda Stone, explains:
“We have previously held the Grand Final at the Royal Society in London but, clearly, that wasn’t an option this year due to Covid-19. Instead, we organised a virtual Apprentice Team of the Year award ceremony, hosting it live from Brathay Hall in Ambleside. This worked really well and ensured the National Finalists teams from across the UK didn’t miss out on this important celebration and acknowledgment of all their hard work. We adapted quickly to the technical challenges and we were delighted to be able to use our new way of working to bring an enjoyable and successful conclusion to the Balfour Beatty Brathay Apprentice Challenge once again.”
The Balfour Beatty Brathay Apprentice Challenge is an interactive series of point earning outreach activities and teambuilding challenges to raise awareness of the benefits of apprenticeships to key strategic engagement targets. Balfour Beatty work in partnership with Brathay Trust to deliver the challenge to second year apprentices on all schemes across the business to support their learning and development.
Acting as ambassadors of Balfour Beatty, over 100 apprentices participated in the Regional Heats from January to March, and over 13,000 people heard about the opportunities an apprenticeship can provide. The teams attended careers fairs, gave presentations in schools, met with teachers, conducted outreach events with diverse groups in communities and delivered a media campaign.
The Challenges are designed to develop life-long career skills including leadership, teambuilding, communications and logistical planning as well as promoting vital messaging on the importance of apprenticeships for employers and young people.
Throughout the project the teams are required to align their activities to the Balfour Beatty Values and bring these to life; the 6 ‘E’s of Energy, Excite, Empathise, Execute, Edge and Empower.
Other awards on the day included a series of Outstanding Achievement awards to recognise the accomplishments achieved during the Regional Heats stages.
EMPOWERing the Mighty Midlands, led by Kyle McNeillie, Trainee Quantity Surveyor with Major Projects, and Sophie Cutler, Apprentice Civil Engineer with Major Projects received the Outstanding Achievement in Engagement activities award for conducting the most outreach events to strategic engagement targets including young people in education, teachers and educators, Balfour Beatty Supply Chain and diverse groups in their communities.
The Northern EDGE team led by Alfie Oaten, Electrical Apprentice with Balfour Beatty Kilpatrick received the Outstanding Achievement – Diversity Outreach Award for their impressive work with diverse groups in their region.
South ENERGYeers team led by Caitlin Garry, Commercial Apprentice working with Major Projects received the Outstanding Achievement – STEM Ambassadors award for having the most team members register as STEM Ambassadors.
The Edge of the Midlands Team received an award for the best presentation; Bringing the Balfour Beatty Values to Life, during the Regional Heats stage.
Tony Ellender, Emerging Talent Development manager said, “As well as developing the apprentices’ skills and raising their capabilities, the Challenge has also raised awareness of the immense opportunities available through apprenticeships both in Balfour Beatty and across our industry. The interaction between existing apprentices and future apprentices, many from quite diverse groups that are key to the sustainability of apprenticeships, is the best way to attract more talent into Balfour Beatty and the broader UK plc to meet our skills needs for the future.”
Brathay's Chief Executive, Godrey Owen, said, “We were delighted to continue our relationship with Balfour Beatty on this important project to support the sustainability of apprenticeships for their organisation and their industry. By participating in the Challenge, the apprentice teams developed vital employability skills in effective teamwork, creativity, strategic planning, problem solving, leadership and communications. Through their efforts in raising awareness they were outstanding examples of how an apprenticeship can launch a career and make a real difference to a young person, especially for those in hard to reach groups.”
Supporters of the Challenge included The 5% Club; an organisation of employers that aspire to achieve 5% of their workforce as apprentices, graduates on formalised training schemes or sponsored students, and the CCATF; Cross-Industry Construction Apprenticeship Task Force with the mission to champion the ethos and culture of training within the construction industry and to promote the benefits and value of hiring an apprentice.