Written by Olly Webb.
I am Olly, a structural apprentice at Blue Engineering. Through this article, I will be touching on why I chose to work an apprenticeship with Blue, and what I experienced in my first two weeks of working.
Here at Blue Engineering, we predominantly work on residential refurbishments such as extensions and loft conversions, meaning there are many moving parts in our projects. I work alongside architects and contractors who use our team’s guidance on structure for the design to the build process. Blue aims to teach us how to work professionally within an office space, alongside training us to become structural engineers. We receive other forms of training toward our personal development, such as email and phone call etiquette. Recently, I began answering phone calls to the office, answering queries or redirecting them to the appropriate member of the team. I’m enjoying the experience as it’s a great way to build confidence and will help me in the future when I start to work alongside Clients, Architects and contractors.
When considering my options, I decided an apprenticeship would best suit me as a hands-on learner. Being able to achieve a degree whilst gaining work experience was an ideal opportunity for me. Completing a degree with industry work experience helps you excel through the university course and makes you stand out from the crowd with 5 years of work experience. Businesses appreciate this compared to a fresh graduate who went to university full-time. An apprenticeship is an innovative learning process that will strengthen your knowledge over the years to come.
Blue’s reputation stood out when applying for Degree Apprenticeships. I gained a sense of what the company’s culture is like through its values; Longevity, Innovation, Transparency, Wellness, Authenticity, and Interdependence. Blue’s team strives to incorporate these efficiently both within the company and externally when working with architects, homeowners, contractors, and others. This enables a happy and upbeat work environment.
Watch and read about a day in the life of a second-year degree apprentice at Blue.
Blue Engineering, being the friendly innovative company it is, will make your first two weeks here a fun smooth learning experience where you will go from knowing very little about CAD to drawing out whole projects with the help of your team. In the first two weeks of joining Blue, you won’t go a day without improving work or expanding your knowledge.
Your first week consists of getting to know the team better and training to understand how Blue operates as a team and who does what. This makes it much easier to settle into the company as you will be talking with different people every day and getting to know everyone in the first two weeks. You will be trained in AutoCAD to learn the ‘Blue Standards’, which are guidelines on how to draw out projects to keep all our work to the same level of detail.
Your role as a first-year degree apprentice at Blue will be to draw plans for projects we are working on, using software called AutoCAD; this is where the training begins. AutoCAD is a computer-aided design (CAD) software that engineers, architects and construction professionals rely on to create precise 2D and 3D drawings.
Now that you have learnt AutoCAD, the training continues to the next level. Skills that would normally take a couple of months to learn, will be taught concisely in these first two weeks at Blue Engineering. Your second week as an apprentice at Blue is where you will be learning how to draw details and sections on AutoCAD. These show part of our plans from a different point of view and explain it in depth.
For example, a detail will show how the steelworks are being secured, or how the foundations will be formed below the ground. Although there are many different details, they are often similar in some way.
Figure 1: A detail drawing of steelwork.
A section is where we would ‘cut through’ part/section of the building and show everything from another angle, you will most likely use this to show the elements of where changes will be located within a project.
Figure 2: A section drawing of a loft conversion.
Is your home renovation project approved and ready for work to begin? Email your architect’s drawings to firstname.lastname@example.org for a quote on structural engineering work.
Blue hosts a work social for new joiners, so you will most likely be going out with the team for drinks in your first two weeks, which is always a fun evening for the team and will give you the chance to settle in and get to know the team better.
Blue hosts socials regularly; they range from team lunches to activities, such as minigolf and ice skating. I started working at Blue just before the summer social, for which we went to the local park, had some food and drinks, and played rounders; this was such a fun experience and gave me some good social time with my colleagues. Blue recognises the importance of getting to know one another outside of work and ensures that there is time for this with the socials.
To apply for an apprenticeship at Blue Engineering, visit our Careers page for more information.
Since joining Blue in August, I have gained valuable experience and progressed significantly in my role. Blue trusts their team to work interdependently, and everyone has a lot of responsibility. I have gained confidence in working both independently and with my team on projects.
It is a positive feeling to be trusted to produce drawings on my projects alongside my colleagues. Blue’s team ensure they give companywide recognition; I was thrilled when my Team Leader acknowledged my colleague and me, in the internal newsletter, for receiving outstanding feedback from a client.
Another aspect of progressing your knowledge with Blue is the opportunity to visit sites. I have been on numerous site visits to date, to build my confidence in advising on-site, learning more about the projects we design and seeing them in person. My favourite site visit thus far was to the Lancaster Mews in Kensington whilst the project was in construction. The reason for the site visit was to answer some of the questions the architects and contractors had about our steelwork designs. Going to a site allows seeing the issues in person and can often make communication between everyone working on the project more efficient.
My first two weeks at Blue couldn’t have been better! Being here has confirmed to me that an apprenticeship is a far better choice than attending university full-time. It gives you hands-on experience, allowing you to stand out from the crowd and accelerate your learning into the world of engineering.
In my first few weeks at Blue, I learnt so much in such a short space of time and started drawing out full projects in just three weeks. You will get to know everyone at the company, whether through socials or in the office, making the learning process fun and exciting. Your role at Blue will be to assist the engineers in drawing projects and following their schemes to produce a set of plans for the contractors to follow in the construction of the property.
Your first week at Blue consists of compelling skill-based learning and initial introductions to the company and team. In your second week, after settling in, you will have a team social get to know the team after in-depth extensive training, preparing you to join the team and start producing detailed drawings.
So far, my knowledge and Career progression at Blue has only improved and I can’t wait to see what my future at the company brings!
Are you interested in working at Blue Engineering? Visit our Careers page to find out more about the apprenticeship roles at Blue!