Nathan Stock is a technical apprentice with Kier Regional Building. Here, Nathan shares his journey into the built environment, and how it nearly didn’t happen.
“This time last year, I was preparing for my A-Levels in history, business and media studies and then if I secured the grades I wanted, three years at university. I always knew I wanted to go on to further education and after gaining the qualifications I needed, I was all set for three years away and a degree at the end of it.
As the time to go to university edged closer, I found myself having doubts and wondering if this was the right move for me. It was another three years of studying and I wasn’t sure what job I would get at the end of it.
I’d heard about apprenticeships through my careers advisor and suddenly found myself doing some research online – the more I read, the more I felt this was the better option for me. It would allow me to earn whilst learning and it would provide me with practical training, something that I thought would suit me.
Through my research, I also discovered that the built environment is facing a skills crisis and looking to attract young talent in to the industry, this was yet another pull for me, as I really wanted to know job opportunities would be available.
Two weeks before I was due to go to university, I decided it was not for me. I told my parents who gave their backing to do an apprenticeship. I can confidently say now, it was the best decision I ever made!
I knew the type of apprenticeship I wanted and when I saw the opportunity with Shared Apprenticeships SW, and its host Kier, looking for a technical apprentice at its Plymouth office, I applied and after several interviews was offered the position on an 18-month basis.
I am only a few months in to apprenticeship but it is already surpassing all my expectations. Every day, I learn something new; about the business, about the projects we deliver and also the people and what they do. I have been made to feel welcome and the tasks I am doing, I can see the impact they have, which is really fulfilling.
I have been able to visit a number of our projects in the south west of England and each one has been fascinating. It’s invaluable meeting the teams on each of the projects and learning about the technical aspects of what they are delivering.
Since starting my apprenticeship, I have learnt how invaluable team work is. I’d played in football teams, and in some ways, it is no different, you need every player to be good in order to be successful. Collaboration is key – whether it is with our client, colleagues or supply chain partners. The team around me at Kier has been brilliant – my manager is incredibly knowledgeable and supportive.
My long-term ambition is to be a quantity surveyor. I love working with numbers, combined with the prospect of delivering projects that will enrich communities, it’s why I want this job within the built environment – I cannot wait to say to my family ‘I helped build that’.
I’ve met other apprentices that have been on the Shared Apprenticeship Scheme with Kier and the Southern Construction Framework and seen how their careers are flying. It’s a real inspiration and made me more determined than ever to work hard and succeed.
At the end of this apprenticeship, not only will I have a qualification, but I also won’t have the debt of going to university and I will have built up real-life experience.
I am so pleased I challenged myself all those months ago and made the decision to do an apprenticeship. It’s been an exciting learning curve – and one that frankly, I just don’t want to end.”