Meet the Apprentices...

Chris Blackburn

Company: WSP
Age: 21
Apprenticeship Programme: BTEC Level 3 Higher Apprenticeship

Apprentice technician Chris has been with WSP in Leeds for the past eighteen months as part of his civil engineering level 3 BTEC National Diploma. He works as part of WSP’s development team in Leeds, primarily using computer software to analyse traffic data improve the design of Britain’s roads.

He said: “I got into engineering because I wanted to change people’s everyday lives. The most enjoyable thing is to see how my schemes work, and knowing that I have an impact in the way decisions are made and the way things can work. Engineering, especially civil engineering is creative and needs to be looked at in an open mind to ensure the best decisions are made, and by taking this approach I look into different ways that create sustainable and economic resolutions.”

Chris joined WSP having already completed his A Levels, but chose an apprenticeship over university.

“I found out about apprentices throughout school; however I was pushed to go to university. I knew that people become immediately skilled from doing apprenticeships as you gain experience whilst earning. I applied for the WSP apprenticeship scheme, which stood out for me as it was a civil engineering apprenticeship and WSP told me I could go far if I put the effort in.” 

Chris hasn’t looked back since joining WSP. He has recently been shortlisted for Apprentice of the Year in the Constructing Excellence Yorkshire and Humber region. He also took part in the 2014 Brathay Challenge and is a member of the WSP LaunchPad programme, where he attends schools to encourage other students into engineering.

“I would recommend an apprenticeship because you gain the experience needed alongside the qualifications. Companies are now asking for experience and when going up against others it will give you an advantage as you will have the experience that a university student won’t necessarily have.

“If I hadn’t of known about apprenticeships, I would probably be in a job that I wouldn’t particularly enjoy working my way ‘through the ranks’, or I would of got into university and be finishing about now looking for a job that has high competition whilst being in a lot of debt.”


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