In late February, two Laing O’Rourke apprentices joined Manchester Airport CEO, Andrew Cowan and Laing O’Rourke Programme Director, Bryan Glass to tighten the final bolt on the steelwork of Manchester Airport’s new pier.
A significant milestone in the transformation programme, which will see Terminal Two grow by more than 140% once complete, was made all the more poignant by the presence of Elektra Politis and Holleeann Walker, two local female apprentices recruited specifically for the project.
As part of Laing O’Rourke’s commitment to investing in future talent and leaving a positive legacy in the local community, 150 apprenticeships will be created or sustained during the Manchester Airport Transformation project. In August 2017, Elektra, 22 from Denton became the first of those apprentices to join the project team.
Studying for an NVQ Level 2 in Business Administration, Elektra is visited by an assessor every 2-3 weeks. She is set workplace assessments she needs to complete within a certain time frame, and logs the daily tasks she completes to evidence all the experience she is gaining on the project.
“I’m really enjoying it!” explains Elektra. “I used to work in sales in quite a mundane, run of the mill office, so it’s completely different compared to what I used to do.
“Although I’m primarily office-based, I love how close to the action we are. Where I sit, I get a really good view of the site and we have a lot of interaction with the site team. There’s a great team atmosphere and it’s a huge project. Being from the area, I’m really proud to be a part of it.”
“The apprenticeship has already opened doors for me and I’m gaining so many new skills and so much experience, all while studying for my qualification and getting paid at the same time.
“Originally we were set up in the airport’s offices and I was part of the team that coordinated the move to our new site offices next to the construction site. It was a huge challenge and it was important that it went as smoothly as possible so we were under pressure, but I really enjoyed it. I think logistics is an area I’d be interested in moving into in future.
“I think a lot of people wouldn’t necessarily think you can do apprenticeships in things like business administration but really, there are so many different apprenticeships out there these days and even in a construction company like Laing O’Rourke you’re not limited to traditional trade apprenticeships.”
Holleeann is an apprentice joiner and formworker and has been heavily involved in the construction of the new airport pier. After finishing her A-Levels at Connell Sixth Form College, Holleeann was unsure about going to university and instead decided to look into apprenticeships. Holleeann spends the majority of the time on site, but travels to a specialist CITB (Construction Industry Training Board) facility in Norfolk for three-week-long training courses where she learns a variety of skills in steelwork, woodwork and other trades.
“I hadn’t really considered construction before applying for the apprenticeship, but I have always been quite creative with my hands and so I decided that joinery would be a good option. I’m really enjoying it and I’m learning so much. It’s a huge project and my Dad actually did the landscaping around Terminal Two when it was first built, so it is a real coincidence that I am starting out my career at the airport too."
Holleeaan discusses her role as an apprentice on the Manchester Airport Transformation Project.
Our 'Apprenticeship+' scheme was developed for individuals with a passion for construction and engineering. It combines college and practice-based training, allowing participants to build their skills working on some of the most exciting projects in the UK, while gaining a recognised qualification.
Interested in an apprenticeship?
Applications are open now and you can find out more on our careers website.