Mike Fairclough is a commercial trainee within our Utilities business, working on high-profile water industry contracts for clients including Thames Water, Yorkshire Water and Severn Trent Water.

Here, Mike runs us through how his apprenticeship first came about and the positive impact it has had on his career so far…

“After studying for my A-levels and juggling a part-time job at Tesco’s I knew I wanted to move into construction. I’d always had a link to the industry through my dad, who ran his own plastering business.

Due to a pre-existing back injury I was keen to avoid manual site work and set about looking for a desk-based role in the construction industry. That’s where the Kier apprenticeship programme came in…

In December 2018, I applied and successfully interviewed for Kier Utilities at its Manchester office. As part of my employment I was enrolled onto a degree apprenticeship in quantity surveying, which would involve a mixture of on-the-job work experience and academic study.

At first it was a bit daunting being the youngest in the office, but I received a warm welcome and support from day one. I struck up good relationships with my line manager Darren Durose and other more senior estimators like Carl Dearden, who have continued to mentor and guide me to this day.

Working in the pre-contract department has exposed me to a wide range of commercial activities and really helped with my degree course. During my time I’ve been lucky enough to be involved with some large and successful tenders, such as a £66m sewage treatment upgrade for Thames Water.

Attending university for my apprenticeship has been invaluable, I get to meet other colleagues from across our business who are doing the same degree. It’s a really good mix, regularly meeting up with people from other sectors including Construction, Utilities, Highways and Infrastructure. There’s a great team spirit where everyone supports each other and shares unique experiences from their sector.

I now have around two years left on my degree, at which point I’ll hopefully become a fully-fledged quantity surveyor. I would recommend the apprenticeship route for anyone considering a career in the construction industry and you would be hard pushed to find a more supportive and forward thinking employer than Kier.”

Click here to find out more about our apprenticeships.