We caught up with Ashley Curtis who is currently completing his Level 2 Groundworks apprenticeship through Coyle and Balfour Beatty working on the UK’s railway network – an opportunity which will provide a strong foundation for his career going forward.
“I used to work as a mechanic but working outside appealed more to me, so I decided to try Groundworks as it is a similar skills set. The opportunity to work for Coyle is amazing as it is a large, national company which provides recruitment services to a number of sectors, so offers lots of room for progression. Coyle then outsources the workforce for Balfour Beatty, an international infrastructure group, which is who I’m contracted to”.
“Lots of my job involves travel as I work on projects in locations anywhere up to Birmingham. The work is varied: I work on railways, so tasks can include putting signs up, banks management, tunnel maintenance, cutting back bushes and clearing tracks, and taking down bridges. We’ve also been involved in maintaining the track at Dawlish Warren to ensure it doesn’t collapse again!
“In the future, I’d like to increase my ‘tickets’ which show you can carry out particular tasks safely and help you to take on more responsibility in a company. I’d also like to get my Controller of Site Safety Supervisor (COSS) award, which is a qualification with Network Rail for safe practice while working on railways – for example, we usually use a Line Block which stops trains travelling along the lines giving us a clear time frame to carry out the work.
“My advice to anyone thinking of doing an apprenticeship would be to be enthusiastic, patient and get your coursework done!”
I always struggled in school as I wasn’t very academic, so knew learning on the job would be a better option for me. I would find it difficult to get up for 9am but now I wake up and look forward to my day. I wanted to try a hair apprenticeship as I’ve always been interested in hairdressing, and by the end of the first week, I already loved it!
I have developed a range of new skills through work including the technical, industry skills required for the job, to personal development such as ensuring I am always on time. The biggest change since leaving school is adjusting to the independence you gain from earning a salary. My advice to anyone thinking of doing an apprenticeship would be find what you like doing, and go for it!
Since starting the apprenticeship, I’ve become far more confident. In a classroom, you only interact with your classmates, but through working you develop your people skills as you interact with customers on a daily basis. At school, you are closely monitored and parented, however I am now more independent and feel grown up
The most important thing I’ve learnt since leaving school is that there are other routes to success than just academia. I failed my GCSEs, as I never suited the school environment. Now though, I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship as I’ve discovered I learn more through hands-on practice.
I would just like to thank you and your team for all the amazing work they do, you have provided me with the most invaluable experience which has helped to pave the way of my future. The work you do for young people is incredible!