Meet our apprentices

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Civil engineering

Daniel Watson

‘’It is very rewarding to see the work you do get put into practice in a real-world environment, and see residents, businesses and visitors benefit from what you’ve done’’

Why did you decide to do an apprenticeship?

After finishing sixth form, I unsure about whether to continue with my education or get a job. With an apprenticeship I was able to do both. I have always had a keen interest in engineering and infrastructure, so when a civil engineering apprenticeship became available, I jumped at the opportunity. As a teenager at the time, I was uncertain if this was the right route to take. But after 3 years of being in my post, I know this was the right decision.

What do you do?

By being a civil engineering apprentice, I have gained experience in many different engineering disciplines. From highway improvements and structures to traffic management and flood risk management. You could say I have done a bit of everything. I’m currently posted in flood risk management, implementing engineering solutions to prevent residents and infrastructure being impacted by flooding. I’ve spent the last six months on an alleviation scheme in the Kenton Bar area to prevent properties from being at risk of flooding, as way the case in 2013 in Thunder Thursday

What are the best bits and what are the challenges?

It is very rewarding to see the work you do get put into practice in a real-world environment, and see residents, businesses and visitors benefit from what you’ve done. Working in a team of experienced engineers has allowed me to gain valuable experience, something I think would be harder without being in a workplace setting. This is something I can carry with me throughout my career and pass on to others.

As someone who came into the role straight from a school setting, it was difficult having to develop relationships with new people. Some of whom you share little in common with at first. Being in this new environment has allowed me to develop my interpersonal skills, and its shows both inside and outside of work. Interacting with the public or others you have never met can be quiet intimidating at first. But putting yourself in these situations makes it easier the next time. The support and encouragement I receive from my manager, friends and team mentors means I always have support.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

When I’m not a work I try to spend as much time as I can outside, mainly hiking in the lakes or doing something with friends. I find myself coming back into Newcastle a lot on the weekend too, trying to find a restaurant I haven’t been to before.

What are your career plans?

After completing my apprenticeship, my goal is to stay with the council, ideally, as a civil engineer within the flood risk management specialist area. There are so many experienced people to talk to and to learn from, making it easy to find out what paths are available. The good thing about an apprenticeship is you have so many transferable skills, meaning I’m in a much better position to take opportunities when they present themselves.

Do you have any advice for others?

My advice to anyone in the situation I was in three years ago would be to find an apprenticeship you have a genuine interest in. You will enjoy it from day one and the skills and people you meet along the way will benefit you long after it all ends. It’s a great first foot in the door and is the perfect foundation to build from. You’re also not having to sacrifice education for work as you can do both at the same time.