The benefits of apprenticeships to employers: In conversation with Balfour Beatty

We spoke with Balfour Beatty’s Head of Engineering Craig Jolly about why apprenticeships are important to the business and the future of industry.

06 February 2024

With National Apprenticeship Week 2024 underway, we asked some employers who are passionate about skills to share their experience of delivering apprenticeships across their organisations.

In this interview, Head of Engineering at Balfour Beatty Craig Jolly talks to us about the benefits of apprenticeships, and what one piece of advice he would offer to employers to support their apprenticeship journey.

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What are the benefits of apprenticeships?

Apprentices are the future of industry, and apprenticeships are a good way to get people into industry… They give businesses the ability to mould the future generations into how they operate.

Apprenticeships also give individuals the best opportunity to learn… Apprentices learn key life skills and earn and learn at the same time – which in the current environment is critical as well.

So, apprenticeships are beneficial to both the person and the business.

How do apprentices fit into Balfour Beatty?

I think the role of apprenticeships has evolved quite significantly over the last decade. It's not solely focused on trades anymore. We've got admin apprentices, we can get apprentice project managers… They fit into just about every level of Balfour Beatty – and probably within industry which is a good move.

Why is it important to have a strong relationship with your training provider and/or your end-point assessment organisation?

We administer the training that’s provided, so it’s key that the relationship is strong and relevant. It helps ensure that we get apprentices with the right provider and on the right course. Working with you at City & Guilds, that’s how we achieve that. And it’s important that we do achieve that, or we’d fail the apprentice.

What one piece of apprenticeship advice would you give other employers?

If I reflect on my own apprenticeship, which was in electrical, it was very stringent and there was no flex. You had to do what was set in front of you within certain timescales – which is important to maintain the foundation, but I think it’s important to have a bit of diversity too.

It’s important to listen to your apprentices and the providers of the training. Look at the bigger picture as well and try to give your apprentices relevant experience and don't pigeonhole their learning. That’s what I would suggest.

Find out how we can support your apprenticeship journey