Holly Tolhurst is a management trainee within our Regional Building Western & Wales business. In a series of blogs on National Apprenticeship Week, Holly describes her journey into the industry and the exciting projects she’s already worked on.
“I was always interested in design and architecture, but initially wanted to work in fashion design. However, when I was presented with the choice of moving to London to study fashion or staying in Gloucestershire to study engineering, I chose the latter. It seemed like a more stable career, one where I could develop my skills and would always find interesting. I still sew, design and model, but it’s a hobby now.
When I started my apprenticeship, I was the only woman on my course of 70 people, which was daunting, but I have made some friends for life.
There are so many opportunities in construction. We say it a lot, but that’s because it’s true – there really is a role for everyone.
If you prefer practical, hands-on work, you might enjoy learning a trade. If you’re good at maths, you could be ideal for quantity surveying. If you’re organised and logical, you might want to explore site management, and if you’re creative, you could become a design manager or architect.
I wanted to work for Kier because of the company’s degree apprenticeship. I’m getting hands-on experience and a university degree and doing it without taking on the burden of university debt. I’m earning money while I learn and looking to buy my first house at the age of 20. I don’t think that would have been possible if I’d gone down the traditional university route.
Kier has also funded a range of additional courses for me, such as my CSCS card qualification, which will be vital for me in my future career.
I’ve worked at Kier for a year and a half, after completing work experience with the company at the Shire Hall refurbishment project in Gloucester. This was the first project I worked on when I started my apprenticeship too, although it finished soon after I started, and I moved to our current project at Quayside House, Gloucester. It’s really interesting, comprising a car park, super surgery and office space.
I work full-time on-site and attend university in week-long blocks, which is all funded by Kier.
I love the mix of being behind a desk and our on-site, and enjoy bonding with colleagues during university weeks – I’ve been able to meet new friends and make industry contacts who are also just starting out in their careers in construction.
I’ve found a great career path, and hope to become a fully-qualified site manager once I’ve finished my degree – who knows where I’ll go from there?”
To find out more about apprenticeships at Kier, click here.