Rhianna Greenwood is a trainee design manager at Kier. She joined as an apprentice design manager in October 2018 after Kier visited her sixth form college and offered work experience opportunities. Here, she explains how she joined the apprenticeship scheme after year 12 and hasn’t looked back on deciding not to attend university.

“Before joining Kier, I was studying for my A-Levels in photography, physics and maths and had always planned to go to university to study architecture. When I was in year 12, Kier attended my sixth form college to give a presentation about the company and an overview of the construction industry. At the end of the presentation, Kier offered us the opportunity to do work experience if this is something we were interested in.

I registered my interest for the role and handed in my CV. I was offered a mock interview alongside three other people and was successful in gaining work experience. I initially applied for the opportunity because I wanted to gain more of an understanding of the construction industry before going onto university, I expressed an interest in architecture and was introduced to the role of design management; like architecture, it still involves working with design, but is more site based – and I found this really interesting.

During my week of work experience (in July 2018), I visited a number of sites including St Albans in Leeds, York Endoscopy in York and Astrea Academy in Sheffield. I was able to meet with the design managers working on the jobs and they talked us through their day-to-day role and what design management is about. I started to think this would be an area that interested me and after finishing my work experience, I kept in contact with Kier.

I was going into year 13 to finish my A-Levels when I found that Kier was offering design management apprenticeships. I hadn’t given apprenticeships much thought before, but I really enjoyed my work experience and had made the decision to pursue a career in design management rather than architecture. I had to make the decision between getting level 3 qualifications whilst getting paid or finishing my A-Levels and hope for another opportunity like this. This decision, alongside the fact that there aren’t many university courses in design management, led me to apply for the apprenticeship and I was given the role, I took a leap of faith and I’ve never looked back.

I am currently working towards two level 3 qualifications – a diploma in civil engineering and an NVQ in construction contracting and operations. Once I complete these qualifications in April, I’ll be looking to continue my learning by doing a level 4 apprenticeship through to degree level and eventually becoming a fully qualified Design Manager.

Since starting my apprenticeship, I have already been offered some amazing opportunities including being able to attend a variety of events such as an event held on International Women’s Day (also my birthday!) and a team building event to meet other apprentices and learn more about the apprenticeship roles and opportunities within Kier. Further to that I have been involved in encouraging others into the world of construction by helping at various apprenticeship fairs, school presentations and have even been able to go back to my old sixth form centre and tell them about my journey into the industry, I love attending these events and informing pupils about different routes into the workplace.”


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