We caught up with one of our apprentices Eleanor Grice, who is currently based at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre project in Liverpool, a cutting-edge facility designed to provide specialist chemotherapy, radiotherapy, inpatient and outpatient care as part of a £162 million project to transform cancer care.
Her daily activities involve kitting out temporary site cabins with additional furnishings, such as kitchen worktops, sinks and boilers, needed to meet the needs of increasing numbers of workers arriving on site.
“It’s new work to me as I get directly involved in ordering materials and products from the Select business, I have my own phone, computer and everything,” she jokes.
Eleanor has almost finished an NVQ Level 3 qualification in carpentry and joinery, carried out over three years through a combination of evening classes at the city of Liverpool College and practical experience on sites, including Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Ysbyty Glan Clwyd hospital, the Unity office building at 20 Chapel Street and now, the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre.
A new direction
During her time at Unity and Wrexham, Eleanor was mentored on specialist tools and management techniques by project leader, Dave Watson, as well as construction manager, Stuart Douglas, a former joiner with over a decade’s experience, whose move into construction management became an important yardstick for her own future potential.
“I became very interested in the path he'd taken to pursue his career goals, becoming a fully qualified joiner and then studying to become a construction manager, which seemed to mirror my own progression. I found myself asking him questions about his motivations and why he wanted to move into the management side,” she says.
That was the catalyst she needed to enrol on a part-time Construction Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma at the city of Liverpool College (equivalent to an HNC), which started in September and will give Eleanor a grounding in the skills needed to coordinate construction teams.
The year-long course includes modules in construction technology and design, health, safety and welfare, sustainable construction, science and materials, and mathematics.
Laing O’Rourke is sponsoring Eleanor’s studies through our apprenticeship programme, and she has a plan in place to broaden her on site experience, working alongside the planning team, quantity surveyors, digital engineers and site managers.
“It’s really exciting! I’ll get a feel for what everyone's role involves. My ultimate career goal is to keep learning about construction and rise up the ranks,” she says. “I'm looking forward to taking each new step and enjoying it.”