Buro Four recently joined the growing number of companies offering alternative routes into a career in project management as Russell Probert was welcomed as the company’s first apprentice. The pilot scheme seeks to offer an apprentice on the job training whilst working towards a Level 4 Diploma in Project Management. The impetus to establish the programme came from Director of Human Resources Jeanette Dedman, who saw the need to create an alternative way to source young talent.
“We’ve always been successful with our graduate and undergraduate recruitment programme, but during the recession, fewer students were pursuing careers in the construction industry, thereby reducing the pool of applicants,” Jeanette said.
Encouraged by the success stories of other apprenticeship programmes and the government-backed incentives for such schemes, Jeanette contacted the National Apprenticeship Scheme and selected View Training in conjunction with Hackney Community College as a training partner. With its large offering of construction related programmes, Hackney Community College aided Buro Four in recruiting an apprentice who had some level of knowledge about the construction industry; an essential criteria for a Buro Four apprentice as it assured that project management was a profession that they wanted to pursue whilst giving them the technical skills necessary to succeed on the course and in the workplace.
Having worked in the industry for five years, Russell offered the background and desire that Buro Four was looking for. He joined the team under the title of Technical Assistant, reinforcing that he is a recognized member of staff providing support on a number of projects whilst attending Hackney Community College one day a week. As part of his 18 month apprenticeship, Russell attends regular reviews with his Buro Four mentor and is assessed every six weeks by his lecturer.
Despite the fact that the apprenticeship scheme is still a pilot programme, there is hope and expectation that the programme will become a permanent part of Buro Four’s long-standing tradition of recruiting and developing strong project managers. “I do not think university has to be the main route into the project management profession. When I think about the apprenticeship programme, I wonder why we didn’t do it before now because it supports Buro Four’s values and ethos and offers an opportunity to everybody, not just people who may have come through a more traditional academic route. It strengthens the diversity of our workplace and subsequently enhances the overall experience provided to our clients,” Jeanette said.
Russell is currently working on Canaletto, a residential development in Islington.