Ben Warr, Laing O’Rourke

Ben is a Year 13 A-level student who has been offered a degree apprenticeship with Laing O’Rourke when he leaves UTC Oxfordshire..

What was the process you had to go through to get considered for the apprenticeship?

“After I submitted my CV, they shortlisted the applicants. I then completed an online exam which led to a telephone interview. I was invited to an assessment centre for a full day where I had to do a presentation with no laptop, only paper and pen. I was only given the Laing O’Rourke website to research and I had to say why I wanted to come and work with them. There was also an interview there for me to ask questions and a final chance to present myself to the company. They then offered my a place.”

When does the apprenticeship start and how long does it last?

“The apprenticeship is for five years and I would obtain a bachelor’s from that.”

Do you know what kinds of things you’ll be learning?

“I will be working with Laing O’Rourke for four days a week and then go to university for the other day. Initially, the first couple of days are quality control procedures and then, as I would start to learn more about the company, they would push me into certain projects, working on different sites.”

What are your plans for after you have finished your apprenticeship?

“My next target is to be a chartered engineer. Through a university course I would have a huge leap forwards with a master’s. However, you also need work experience which is why I’m choosing to go down the apprenticeship route. I think it’s possible that after being with Laing O’Rourke for five years they could sponsor me to do a master’s. My options are still open.”

When did you join UTC Oxfordshire and what made you decide to join?

“I joined last year in year 12. I chose to come here because, although my previous sixth form was well regarded, I liked the structure that comes with the UTC. I like the longer working days as it helps you to get into a real working environment. I don’t have much work to take home; I do most of it at the school during free study. This means you still have the chance to learn how to study independently which you need for university.”

Are you glad you decided to join the UTC and do you feel it has helped you prepare for your future?

“Definitely, I think that the UTC has helped as there are a lot of employability workshops, presentations and motivational speakers, which helps when trying to write a CV and prepare for an interview. There are so many opportunities if you come here. The UTC is associated with many different companies and I think when I used examples in my interview from my employer-led projects it put me at a massive advantage. Last summer I did an extended work placement with Laing O’Rourke at the Westgate Centre in Oxford and this really stimulated my interest in civil engineering.”