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WSP more than doubles female apprentice intake thanks to new levy

WSP, the professional services and engineering firm that’s behind the Shard, has more than doubled its intake of female apprentices since 2016 thanks to the launch of the new apprenticeship levy in April 2017


The consultancy has now grown its female intake from nine in 2016 to 22 in 2017. Back in 2016, WSP had an overall intake of 41 apprentices; fast-forward a year and WSP took on more than 70 apprentices.

The levy has allowed WSP to continue tackling the skills gap in engineering by diversifying its offering of apprenticeship programmes to have both school leaver and degree level apprenticeships available for young people looking to kick-start their career in STEM.

As consultants on some the UK’s biggest engineering projects, apprentices don’t just get the chance to earn whilst they learn; they gain invaluable real-world experience working on projects including 22 Bishopsgate, Crossrail, Chelsea Football Stadium and High Speed 2.

Emily Mahoney, WSP Learning and Development Specialist said: “We’re thrilled to have increased our female intake of apprentices by 150% since 2017 and we aim to do that again in 2018. Our caring culture means that our apprentices start their careers in the safe environment which allows them to develop and become our world class engineers of the future.

“Apprenticeships are pivotal to the success of our business because they create the work-winners of the future which is why we embraced the introduction of the levy. At WSP Apprenticeships are a serious business and they are driven top-down, from our Executive Leadership team which includes our COO Mike Rogerson, a former apprentice.”

Find out from our COO and apprentices why kick-starting their career with an apprenticeship was a great decision: 

Mike Rogerson, Chief Operating Officer at WSP in Leeds. 

Mike Rogerson is living proof that an apprenticeship can take you to the top. He began his career more than 30 years ago, joining West Yorkshire County Council as a trainee technician (the equivalent of a modern-day apprentice) at just 18. 

The role allowed Mike to earn on-the-job experience, as well as to attend Wakefield District Technical College one day a week to study for his BTEC ONC in Civil and Structural Engineering.

Mike comments:  “I completed my O-Levels and went on to study A-Levels at Wakefield College but after a year I ended up leaving, as the academic route just didn’t suit me. I was eager to get a job and begin earning money.

“My family have a history in the construction industry, in fact, my grandad helped me write the letter that went with my application for the trainee role, and I got the job.”

But after two-years Mike wanted to accelerate his career and chose to go onto university; at that time there was no option to study a degree whilst working in the sector.

He has now been with WSP for more than 18 years, working his way up to COO. Despite his demanding role overseeing major projects across the UK, he still makes time to support new apprentices who join the company.

Emma Luckman, Undergraduate Engineer in the Bridges team at WSP in Birmingham.

Just six months into her apprenticeship and HNC in Civil Engineering at Coventry University, Emma, aged-21, has already started to pass on her passion for STEM to younger people.

Emma said: “I’m really proud of my involvement with promoting STEM, from going into schools to give presentations, to attending organised events where I get to help give kids an insight into what engineering is all about.”

Emma is keen to transform the perception that engineering is all hard hats and muddy work sites and wants to highlight the immense variety a career in engineering can give you.

“An apprenticeship gives you amazing experience from working in the industry and the support you get from your peers makes learning the theory so much easier,” comments Emma.

Lauren Cunningham, Apprentice in the Highways team at WSP in Manchester.

Rising star Lauren Cunningham, aged 18, was recently highly commended in the Apprentice of the Year category at the prestigious Made in Manchester Awards.

Discovering a passion for STEM at school, she chose to go on to study Design, Engineer and Construct (DEC) at GCSE which helped to introduce Lauren to the built environment. She’s now studying for a Level 3 BTEC in Construction and Built Environment at Salford City College.

She explains: “I was inspired by the one of the founders of DEC, Alison Watson, whose background was as a quantity surveyor and although becoming one wasn’t for me, I knew there were many other potential career options.”

Lauren has excelled in her apprenticeship on top of her recent accolade she’s presented at the House of Lords on behalf of DEC and successfully secured the ICE QUEST Scholarship.

“I thoroughly enjoy my job and no two days are the same. I’ve worked on various projects including the M62 (Junction 10 – 12) Smart Motorway Upgrades. It was especially interesting to work on the M62 as I live close to it so I can really see the real human impact our work has.”

Lois Medley, Apprentice in the Rail Team at WSP in London. 

Aged 18, Lois is now one and a half years into her apprenticeship and Level 3 BTEC in Building Services Engineering course.

On top of her studies she’s working at WSP gathering new skills including how to use different software such as AutoCAD.

After speaking to family, teachers and friends, I decided to go for an apprenticeship. I’m more of a practical learner, so for me it’s proving to be much more rewarding and challenging than sitting in a classroom. I love working on real projects that benefit people’s everyday lives,” explains Lois.

 “I had a friend working at WSP who opened my eyes to the amazing apprenticeship opportunities at WSP, after doing more research I was really inspired to see all the girls profiled on their website so this seemed the company for me to apply too.”

To find out more about WSP apprenticeships, visit: https://goo.gl/iKweGX

For media enquiries please contact enfys.bosworth@wsp.com / 07966 394 315

WSP is one of the world's leading engineering professional services consulting firms. We are dedicated to our local communities and propelled by international brainpower. We are technical experts and strategic advisors including engineers, technicians, scientists, architects, planners, surveyors and environmental specialists, as well as other design, program and construction management professionals. We design lasting solutions in the Property & Buildings, Transportation & Infrastructure, Environment, Industry, Resources (including Mining and Oil & Gas) and Power & Energy sectors as well as project delivery and strategic consulting services.

With 7,800 talented people in the UK and more than 42,000 globally, we engineer projects that will help societies grow for lifetimes to come. WSP has been involved in many high profile UK projects including the Shard, Crossrail, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Manchester Metrolink, M1 Smart Motorway, the re-development of London Bridge Station, and the London Olympic & Paralympic Route Network. www.wsp.com/uk



Amelie Barrau
Amelie Barrau PR Manager
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Enfys Bosworth
Enfys Bosworth Press and Social Media Executive