Success of local apprentices celebrated ahead of Apprentifest

Two Swindon apprentices employed by Buckingham Group Contracting have been instrumental in the construction of the Southern Connector Road.

Published: Thursday, 1st June 2023

two people stood next to a car dressed in personal protective equipment

The apprentices, Josh and Francisco, have worked with Swindon Borough Council’s project officers in supervising the construction and designing the new key relief road using CAD (computer-aided design).

Managers from Swindon Borough Council have observed Josh and Francisco on-site and have been impressed by their abilities. Josh has excelled in supporting training inductions while Francisco has prepared CAD drawings and provided valuable guidance on drone software.

This comes as Apprentifest arrives at STEAM next week on 7 June, which members of the public can drop into between 4pm and 6.30pm. Students from any year group, parents and carers, or adults wishing to study an apprenticeship, can learn more about what’s involved in an apprenticeship and what opportunities are currently available.

Josh Baker, 21 from Swindon who is doing a Level 4 (flexi) Apprenticeship in Construction, said: “School wasn’t for me and engaging was hard, but I always knew I wanted a job in the construction industry.

“I started off as a labourer for Buckingham and was then offered a role in the site supervisors department as an apprentice. It’s broadened my outlook and given me greater confidence, communication and time management skills.”

Francisco Cerda Pereya, 19, who is doing a Level 4 (flexi) Apprenticeship in Construction, said: “From arriving 11 years ago not speaking English to excelling at school at UTC Swindon, I then had a tough choice to whether to go to university or go down the apprenticeship route.

“I’m so glad I picked to do an apprenticeship – it’s a proper job with real prospects and I get to spend a lot of my time in work with leading engineers and doing quality assurance tasks. I’ve really grown in the months here at SCR and I’m really enjoying it.”

Councillor Chris Watts, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for the Environment and Transport, said: “It’s absolutely fantastic to see first-hand what local apprentices have to offer for such impactful highways schemes in the Borough. I’m really pleased they’ve made a good impression on their colleagues from Buckingham Group Ltd and us here at Swindon Borough Council.

“Anyone who would like to learn more about apprenticeships in Swindon should pop along to ApprentiFest at the STEAM Museum on 7 June, where a host of organisations will be available to talk to prospective apprentices – and some will even have vacancies available.

“We’re committed to further supporting such initiatives as part of our wider Community Wealth Building program to be launched in the coming year.”

Tristan Tregartha, Future Skills Manager at Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd, said: “Supporting young people in to meaningful careers is at the core of the Buckingham Group Future Skills programme and it’s particularly satisfying when we engage with enthusiastic and committed individuals who are local to one of our projects. Both Francisco and Josh are important members of the site team and have recently both had their contracts extended to completion of the Swindon SCR and hopefully to our next contract in the local area.

“The opportunity has been supported as part of the ‘Flexi’ Apprenticeship for L4 Site Supervisors delivered by supply chain training partner Skills 4 Stem who have been one of the first organisations in the country to pioneer this initiative – we hope this can pave the way for more young talent to have an opportunity to shine!”

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