By Alex Hill, Managing Director at Whitecode
Each year Whitecode takes on an apprentice from a local school to begin their venture into the worlds of construction and engineering. It’s a programme which Whitecode has been executing for many years, and year on year it has proven to be highly successful. Whitecode’s Managing Director, Alex Hill, gives insight into the design consultancy’s commitment to building the next generation of engineers.
My time as an apprentice took place many moons ago. Back then – 25 years ago – I was fresh from Wilmington Grammar School in Kent and was brimming with ideas and aspirations. I had a real feel for design and engineering systems, and knew I wanted to pursue a career in this field. Fortunately, I landed a job at Whitecode after only searching for a short period of time, and was able to find a building services engineering course at London South Bank University which I could complete during my time at Whitecode.
It was a pathway that led to many successes and undoubtedly made me who I am today. But this route can be complicated and difficult to navigate; sometimes the journey can make it hard to reach a destination. Even though a young person may have the desire to become a designer or engineer, this aspiration can come to nothing if the opportunity doesn’t present itself as ready for the taking. It is why I decided to reach out to Wilmington, my old grammar school, to create a bridge between a young person’s aspiration and reality.
I contacted the Head of Engineering at the school who made some recommendations as to which students would like to pursue a career working for Whitecode. As more and more bright students joined us, our relationship with the school grew. I started to play an active role at Wilmington, providing work placements and helping to deliver specialist lectures to encourage more youngsters to enter engineering and construction. During my journey, I became a school governor and eventually ended up sponsoring a course called Design Engineer Construct (DEC). Although the school has since moved on to a new course, we still dedicate time to Wilmington students, helping them with key design skills such as Autodesk Revit and building services design.
Each year the initiative has gone from strength to strength – even the pandemic hasn’t thwarted the 2020 cohort! Many businesses have had to abandon any wishes to recruit apprentices, yet we’ve been very fortunate. Whitecode has welcomed two trainee engineers, Jack and Daniel, into the world of building services. They will be completing their apprenticeships at London South Bank University and will no doubt have a very bright future here at Whitecode.
In an industry’s dogged with a skills shortage, we are proud to be playing a part in developing the engineering stars of tomorrow. We have a strong track record of crafting individual talent and challenge all of our staff – from apprentices to directors – to be the best versions of themselves. The next generation of designers and engineers is in the hands of companies such as Whitecode and we are grateful that so many young people want to join us in loving what we do in this rewarding, diverse industry.