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United Kingdom / Transport / Apprentice

Robbie Harrison

"I am six months into my apprenticeship and have already taken in a wide variety of work."

What made you want to join the construction industry in the first place?

I wanted a career that would take in a wide variety of projects and opportunities with the potential to work abroad. The construction sector provides a diverse range of areas in which to specialise and this really appealed to me, as did the opportunity to work on exciting large-scale developments. I have always been interested in how structures such as bridges and buildings are constructed, so was keen to get involved in the process.

How did you go about getting onto your current programme?

After my A levels I was keen to enter a working environment. I spent two years as a sales apprentice before I managed to secure the engineering apprenticeship that I wanted. I applied for Mott MacDonald’s apprenticeship scheme via their website. I had to submit my CV and answer questions regarding why I was interested in the programme. I was then invited to the company’s offices in Liverpool to take maths and english tests, before being invited back again for an interview with senior staff from Mott MacDonald. Before my interview I was given the choice of preparing a presentation on the proposed design of either a stadium or a pedestrian bridge. I hadn’t had much experience of doing presentations and hadn’t done one for a job interview, but the experience wasn’t intimidating as the team interviewing me made the atmosphere relaxed and comfortable.

What have you done so far?

I am six months into my apprenticeship and have already taken in a wide variety of work. My manager and mentor are really supportive and always on the lookout for interesting tasks that will help me develop new skills. I have used a range of computer software to produce technical drawings and models to show how new road and junction designs can impact on traffic. I have visited project sites to assess the potential for development and have carried out site surveys for project managers. I have recently been working on the Greenway Route development which will improve 50km of cycle routes around Ellesmere Port.

What do all your mates think of what you do?

My friends are pleased to see me doing well and have been impressed by the opportunities for specialisation and travel that the job offers. Many of them have also chosen the apprenticeship route into the construction industry as well!

What do you hope to achieve in your career, and where will we see you in ten years’ time?

Going forward I would like my work and career to involve projects that have an impact on people’s lives. Achieving Chartered status is very important to me as it will then mean I have the skills and knowledge to work on large scale projects. I would like to work abroad, especially places like Dubai where development has rocketed over the last twenty years. I believe this industry can provide a career that I am going to enjoy, and Mott MacDonald is involved in a wide variety of stimulating projects to work on. This is where I want to be in ten years’ time, having achieved chartered status and with experience of working on a range of projects at home and abroad.

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