Isabelle Hewitt wins Apprentice of the Year at G4C North East Awards 2019

Read about Isabelle's career journey...

Isabelle Hewitt left school in 2014, after gaining 12 GCSEs. With a keen interest in STEM subjects, as well as Art, she progressed to King James 1st Sixth Form Academy to study A Levels in Maths, Art & Sports Studies. After completing her AS Levels (during Year 1), Isabelle decided that the purely academic route wasn’t for her.

During the summer of 2015, Isabelle successfully secured a placement with the Nuffield Foundation who provide opportunities to work alongside professional scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians during the summer holidays. Isabelle worked on a research project with a Professor from Newcastle University, which focused on multispectral imaging using LEDs. At the end of the placement, Isabelle submitted a report to the American Journal of Physics.

In September 2015, she joined New College Durham with the aim of gaining more hands-on skills and experience – as well as academic qualifications. Isabelle chose to study for a BTEC Level 3 in Construction and the Built Environment, as well as studying for an A Level in Art alongside.

In February 2016, Isabelle received a GOLD Crest Award, from the British Science Association, for her Nuffield Research Project. This achievement resulted in Isabelle being put forward for the National Science & Engineering Competition Finals, in March 2016. During the competition, Isabelle delivered a presentation about her research project and met the first ever female Astronaut.

In September 2016, Isabelle secured an Apprenticeship with Esh Construction – one of the leading construction companies in the North East of England. She joined Esh Construction as an Apprentice Quantity Surveyor, with the aim of completing her BTEC Level 3 in Construction and the Built Environment. Esh Construction supported Isabelle’s studies by granting her a one-day a weekday release, as well as providing her with workplace assessment opportunities which enabled her to achieve an NVQ Level 3 in Construction Contracting Operations. The Level 3 Apprenticeship only took one year to complete due to previous achievements.

At Isabelle’s review meeting, it was decided that she would be elevated from a Level 3 Apprenticeship, jumping straight onto a Level 6 Degree Apprenticeship. This is a fantastic achievement after only 12-months of employment and historically, Isabelle was the first apprentice to be elevated by two apprenticeship levels. As a result, Esh Construction now tailors its apprenticeship entry levels, as well as an individual’s progression.

In September 2017, Isabelle joined Northumbria University and is currently working towards a five-year, Chartered Surveyor Degree Apprenticeship. During her first year, Isabelle achieved outstanding results in all three modules:

  • Construction Technology – 85%
  • Property Surveying – 70%
  • Professional Practice – 68%

Isabelle has displayed a strong commitment to the Construction Industry by voluntarily attending Continuing Professional Development (CPD) events organised by Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) & Watson Burton. Eager to learn, she’s attended 16 breakfast briefings over the last three years.

Isabelle has also acquired student member status with both the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors (ICES) with the view of working towards full professional membership.

Over the last three years, Isabelle has worked on three high profiled projects:

  • Whitburn Spill Reduction – a £7.5million project to improve the performance and resilience of the sewer network in the North Sunderland and South Tyneside areas.
  • (I&D) Projects – pre-scheme investigation projects ranging from £2k – 600K. Isabelle was responsible for developing client Project Accounting Reports, which are created by working together collaboratively with our Joint Venture partners, Stantec.
  • SSTC3 – a £4.2million project to carry out water and waste-water diversions and modifications to the sewer network in advance of the Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor Phase 3.

Esh-Stantec was appointed to improve the sewer network and reduce the risk of flooding to properties on Weyhill Avenue, North Shields.  Our site compound was located next door to Meadow Well Connected – a community hub serving the two highest areas of deprivation in North Tyneside. In October 2016, Isabelle volunteered to take part in our first ever reactive legacy project. Along with six other volunteers, Isabelle engaged with the community hub and completed a variety of tasks which included planting onions, making hanging baskets, cleaning out the guinea pigs and making Christmas wreaths.

Each year, the National Association of Women in Construction organise a ball which aims to raise funds for a specific charity. In October 2017, Isabelle gave up her Friday evening to volunteer at the event, selling raffle tickets which raised over £3,000 for Maggie’s Cancer Care Centre.

Building My Skills is Esh Group’s year-long, employability skills programme. In November 2018, Isabelle volunteered to deliver a presentation to 157 students (Year 10) from Outwood Academy Bydales in North Yorkshire. The presentation focused on the softer skills that employers are looking for in the workplace.

In 2018, Isabelle also applied for the position of Degree Apprentice Student Representative at Northumbria University. She was elected and now represents the views and interests of students who are studying towards a Degree Apprenticeship.

Isabelle proactively volunteers to help with our work experience programme which actively encourages Year 11 students to study STEM subjects. She’s also gained a CSCS card, as well as undertaking training to become Esh-Stantec’s First Response First Aider.

In 2014, Isabelle completed the National Citizen Service and received an award to recognise the outstanding contribution she’d made to the local community. Isabelle, along with 8 other volunteers, organised an information event to raise awareness of the condition Multiple Sclerosis, as well as raising £295 for a local charity.

In 2015, Isabelle was due to participate in a trip to the Philippines to help build a school, help young school children improve their English skills, as well as looking at marine life. Due to the Philippines disaster, the trip was cancelled. However, Isabelle still raised £1,000 for marine conservation and the British Red Cross.

In 2017, Isabelle was selected to take part in the CIOB Northern Student Challenge, representing New College Durham. She also volunteered to star in the Eleven Archers Kynren Show, which is part of Isabelle’s hometowns’ rejuvenation programme.

In 2018, Isabelle volunteered to take part in an Ultra White Collar Boxing Event (UWCB) to raise funds for Cancer Research UK. She trained for eight weeks to prepare for the charity boxing match and raised a total of £300.

Going forward, Isabelle aims to complete her Chartered Surveying Degree Apprenticeship and is hoping to achieve a first-class degree. Isabelle’s also looking forward to gaining more hand-on site experience, working on major capital infrastructure projects. As always, Isabelle aims to embrace the Northumbrian Water ethos, putting Customers and the community at the heart of every project delivered. This will enhance Isabelle’s existing skills and hopefully help her attain chartered status with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).