National Apprenticeship Week 2022: Building upon our history for next generation engineering.

National Apprenticeship Week 2022: Building upon our history for next generation engineering.

BGEN has a long-standing apprenticeship scheme that has supported and trained many of our existing employees including those in supervisory, managerial and senior leadership roles.

Our Recent Apprentice History

Over the last five years, we have invested more than ever to find a balance of modern apprentices to support the skills shortages faced within the engineering construction industry – it’s critical for us to play our part and invest for the future. In five years, we have welcomed and trained 20 tradespeople and a further 14 professional apprentices as part of our succession planning in areas including systems integration, network engineering and quantity surveying.
*In April 2017, we began building a new future process when the apprentice levy was introduced.
**In October 2019, our first-degree level apprentices join our Technology business, a change to our usual graduate recruitment. The following year, we use levy funds to support our first master’s degree Apprenticeship! We developed partnerships with four key Universities over these two years.
***During the pandemic, our learners moved away from traditional methods of learning and begin to learn online using teams and virtual learning.
****In 2021, we recruited 9 trade apprentices and 7 white-collar apprentices to support our business and succession planning for the future.

The last five years has seen changes in modern apprentices, both in Industry and here at BGEN

In a changing world, apprenticeships are key in futureproofing industry, and we will continue to strive to develop a range of hands-on and academic routes into engineering to build the future.

Building relationships and best-in-class practices

As well as supporting apprentices with employment, learning and development opportunities, it’s also key for our experts to be part of the wider conversation of the future of our industry. One way that our design function addresses this is by liaising with key institutions to deliver the best possible and most up to date information and resources to young apprentices.

Glyn Shawcross is our Design Director and an ambassador for BGEN in the public world of Design. Here are just some ways that he works with technical institutions.

Manchester Metropolitan University

Most recently, Glyn spoke at MMU’s ‘FutureMe’ initiative. This was academic-industrial collaborative event, which has been developed to provide students with an understanding of the engineering industry. As part of the initiative, BGEN set the students the challenge of reduce carbon emissions through out our business. The students will then present back there solutions.

Bolton University

Since 2019, Glyn has actively contributed to the BU Industry Advisory Board. He is currently discussing input requested from industry practitioners to help BU contextualise some of the industrially based concepts and to bring some real-life examples and case studies.


Glyn has represented BGEN with the ECITB Design and Draughting National Occupational Standards (NOS) Review Working Group

Design Best Practice Forum

The Design department have supported the Design Best Practice forum for many years. The site is a great place for learners to get information on Design Best Practice, CDM, and general safety through Design as a whole. The DBP site has been established through the Design Network to share, internally and externally, their Design experiences.

Key aspects of this site shall be Design Best Practice, CDM, and general safety through Design as a whole. Case Studies of existing and completed projects shall be submitted to demonstrate ideas generated through the Design Process.

whoSupporting and liaising with institutions outside of our organisation helps the industry as a whole

The career of an apprentice

Whether modern or traditional, we know that apprenticeships work. Many opportunities and doors open for apprentices and a lot of our Directors and leaders at BEGN started out their careers in this way. The timelines below represent two electrical and mechanical apprentice’s journeys who have literally been building, and gone on to help develop and support our new employees.

Nick Woollacott 

Nick is one of our longest serving colleagues who started his career here at BGEN, as an Electrical Apprentice, nearly fifty years ago!

A big part of Nick’s time is spent managing our blue-collar apprenticeships, collaborating with our apprentices, their mentors and our training officers.

In effect, his role as gone full circle and he is able to pass on his knowledge from his time as an apprentice, despite the fact that so much has changed.

Nick believes that what has changed since his time as an apprentice, is that apprentices are much more supported, that we invest more time as a business in visiting them, giving them a mentor to help them on a daily basis, in his day it was more a case of ‘sink or swim’ and you were thrown in at the deep end.

He also believes that the environments in which people work has changed hugely. The facilities and welfare offered on site are much improved from his time on site.

Nick has been at BGEN (formerly Boulting) for almost 50 years, seeing a huge amount of change.

Sean Woods

Sean joined us at the turn of the millennium, spending the first year of his apprenticeship at ‘Training 2000’, building the foundations of his career in mechanical engineering. He has been progressing and developing ever since and now works in a supervisor role at one of our key pharmaceutical clients.

Throughout his career, Sean has been supported with various Health and Safety qualifications as well as his SSSTS (Supervisory Training).

Sean joined us at the turn of the millennium and has accomplished many goals since. He now support others going down the same route.

Scottish Water and WGMB

Working with our partners WGM Engineering Ltd, as our joint venture WGM-B, BGEN will help deliver one of Scotland’s largest capital investment infrastructure programmes, which will enhance Scotland’s water and wastewater services for future generations to come. 

Scottish Water has a bold ambition to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040 and recognise this commitment will only be achieved through partner collaboration and consistency.

Understanding the importance of supporting Scottish Water’s ambitious plans for the next decade and beyond, WGM-B has committed to employing 180 apprentices and graduates over the next six years.

We are delighted to play our part and provide development opportunities for young people, helping to create a flourishing Scotland.

Scottish Water’s Director of Capital Investment, said:
“These young people will play a vital role in ensuring we deliver our ambitious plans for the next decade and beyond.

They will bring a range of skills to help us achieve the change needed on the scale and speed to meet the challenge of providing services the public expect and rely on, while also addressing the impact that a changing climate has on our natural resources and infrastructure.

Everyone who takes part will be pivotal in helping us reach our Route to Net Zero and, hopefully, in decades to come to be experts in the water industry serving a flourishing Scotland.”

Read more here:
Find out about WGM-B Joint Venture::

Tips from the Top

And finally, this week, the Electrical Times featured tips from some of our most senior level staff (one being our Managing Director) who started their careers as Electrical Apprentices. You can read their tips below:

Terry Marston, Manging Director, Nuclear

Pat McLaughlin, Operations Director

Neil Lockett, Site Operations Director

Vincent Edge, International & Strategic Business Director

Robin Whitehead, CEO

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