Esh Construction has welcomed two PlanBEE apprentices to complete industry placements for technical and professional roles in project management. Lauren Blakley and Harvey McIntosh started their placement in September, joining the site management teams at Kedward Avenue and Hebburn Tri-Station respectively.
PlanBEE was launched by a group of North East employers in 2016 with the aim of providing an alternative work-based route into specific construction careers, rather than via the traditional university route. The initiative brought together Gateshead College and key players in the industry to develop a higher apprenticeship programme which would prepare young people for a career in a broad range of technical and professional roles in architecture, building engineering, project management, cost consultancy and construction site management.
Darush Dodds, director of corporate affairs and social value at Esh Group, said: “The PlanBEE apprenticeship programme is a great initiative for the region. As part of our Constructing Local strategy, we engage colleges and schools to help change the outdated perceptions of the construction industry, so we were keen to get involved with PlanBEE.
“Providing placements for both Lauren and Harvey, helping them to enhance their knowledge and progress in their studies, has been a real pleasure. We are looking forward to welcoming the next cohort in 2024.”
Lauren has been working with Esh’s affordable housing division at Kedward Avenue. She said: “It has been a great time working with Esh, the work I have been doing on site has helped me with my college studies. At college, we have been learning about timber frame housing, and being able to see this being built on a live construction site has really helped with my college work as I can see real-life scenarios happening daily.”
Harvey has been based at Hebburn Tri Station, where Esh’s commercial build division is delivering the country’s first carbon-neutral tri-service station. He said: “A year ago, I didn’t know what I wanted to do after I left college. I saw the PlanBEE apprenticeships advertised and thought it sounded good. I am going to experience six different job roles which is something I wouldn’t have seen at university.
“My time at Esh has allowed me to settle into the construction environment, I have never been on a construction site before this, so it has allowed me to learn the terminology and what happens on site. My day-to-day role has varied while being here. One day, I work with the planner and do progress markups; the next, I sit in site meetings learning about the job. The role is a lot more in-depth than I thought it would be. There is a lot more scope to construction than when I first started.”
Working alongside Lauren at Kedward Avenue is Assistant Site Manager Elizabeth Hodgkin, who Lauren described as a perfect role model to have. Lauren said: “Elizabeth is the perfect role model for women in construction. She welcomed me on site and made me feel comfortable. I think construction is a great industry to go into, if you start working in one sector and role and you want to change, you can. It is such a fluid and interchangeable industry where you will never stand still.”
Esh Construction will welcome another two students via PlanBEE in January next year.
The PlanBEE apprenticeship programme is a great initiative for the region. As part of our Constructing Local strategy, we engage colleges and schools to help change the outdated perceptions of the construction industry, so we were keen to get involved with PlanBEE.”