Esh Group has welcomed its largest apprenticeship cohort since 2018 in a move that reinforces its commitment to invest in the workforce of the future.
The latest intake sees the current number of apprentices employed in 2023 rise to 29, with apprentices now making up 8% of the group’s workforce.
Qualifications range from Level 2 up to degree level across a wide variety of subject areas including engineering, joinery, plastering, quantity surveying, social value, health and safety, site management, IT, and groundworks.
Esh Group’s HR Director, Chris Watson, said: “The latest cohort represents our profound commitment to developing talent and driving progress within the industry, and we will continue to invest in opportunities that offer clear paths into construction for everyone.
“At Esh, we’ve always had a ‘grow your own culture’ – we have a number of success stories of long-serving colleagues across the business who have progressed with us. For example, our own Deputy Chief Executive, Stephen Wilkie, started with the business in 1989 and was employed straight from school as a trainee engineer. We want our apprentices to build their career with us and continue to develop, with long-term aspirations of progressing into more senior roles in the future.”
Apprentice Lucy Youlton is the first social value apprentice recruited at Esh Group to support the delivery of Esh’s award-winning social value initiatives, including the re-launch of the Building My Skills programme in 2024. She added: “I had never considered construction as a career route, and I didn’t know what social value was until I came across the apprenticeship opportunity with Esh. There wasn’t a particular subject area that I wanted to pursue at university, so I spent the summer applying for several apprentice vacancies.
“Esh was the only company to respond to my application, and I was lucky enough to be given an opportunity. I’ve really enjoyed my time since I joined, everyone is welcoming and friendly and keen to help me progress.”
As part of Esh Group’s partnership with the North East Institute of Technology, a number of the apprentices will study courses at New College Durham and Middlesbrough College. Ten have been recruited to work within Esh’s civil engineering division, specifically on water and wastewater network frameworks which sees Esh deliver reactive and planned repairs and maintenance up to large-scale capital investment projects in partnership with Northumbrian Water Group.
Darush Dodds, Director of Corporate Affairs and Social Value, commented: “Our partnership with the North East Institute of Technology allows us to provide industry knowledge to education partners which will help shape the future curriculum and ensure young people develop the skills they need to succeed in construction careers.”
Esh Group continue to welcome those looking for work experience and T-Level placements, with many students going on to secure apprentice roles, including Sameer Ahmed. Upon completion of his studies at Middlesbrough College, Sameer completed 13 days of work experience at the Hummersea Hills site and has since secured a role as apprentice groundworker.
He commented: “My work experience placement gave me the opportunity to put my studies into practice on a real-life construction site and cemented my aspirations to gain an apprenticeship in the industry. When I was made aware of the apprenticeship vacancies at Esh, I jumped at the chance, and I’m delighted to be now working for the company that gave me my first chance to experience the industry.”
In a bid to help students make informed decisions about their future and encourage construction apprenticeship routes, Esh Group launched ‘Construction in the Curriculum’ earlier this year, a brand-new school programme that delivers a timetabled subject through a construction and built environment perspective to show young people how their education applies to real life job roles within the industry.
At Esh, we’ve always had a ‘grow your own culture’ - we have a number of success stories of long-serving colleagues across the business who have progressed with us. For example, our own Deputy Chief Executive, Stephen Wilkie, started with the business in 1989 and was employed straight from school as a trainee engineer. We want our apprentices to build their career with us and continue to develop, with long-term aspirations of progressing into more senior roles in the future.”