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Overbury and Morgan Lovell on Higher and Degree Apprenticeships

A portrait photograph of Bethany Copland

Bethany Copland, the Foundation Manager at Overbury and Morgan Lovell tells us why her organisation continues to invest in the education of new joiners

Why do you send your apprentices to LSBU?

We have always had a relationship with LSBU sponsoring trainees and experienced staff on day release HNCs, graduate and postgraduate programmes.

Apprenticeships have become relevant for us with the development of new apprenticeship standards to higher and degree level in Construction Management and Quantity Surveying. LSBU has been at the forefront of developing these ‘trailblazer’ standards and have become our natural provider.

Our head office is in the West End and LSBU is ideally located to support the academic element of the new apprenticeship standards that our trainees will undertake.

Part of my role is to monitor our new joiners who are undertaking qualifications, and make sure that they get the support they need. Everyone learns differently and at different speeds, so if people need extra study leave or are finding things difficult, there’s always someone they can talk to. We support everyone so that we get the best out of our people.

- Bethany Copland

How do you identify people to send on our apprenticeship schemes?

We recruit trainees from school, college, university and the trades. This gives us a great mix of skills and experience to help us grow our talent base.

We are building relationships with schools and colleges that run construction-related or technical courses. We find that a lot of students don’t know a lot about the fit out sector so our first job is to build awareness through talks, site visits and work experience. Those that join us then get sponsored onto HNC or degree level; on day release programmes now delivered as new apprenticeship standards by LSBU.

Why don’t you just hire graduates, instead of paying to put them through university yourself?

We have a small, trainee intake and we are looking for a range of skills and experience in our annual trainee cohort. To achieve this, school leavers, graduates and industrial placement students are all considered.

How many staff do you have on the scheme?

We currently have 17 people on our trainee programme (Foundation Programme), six of whom are completing day release courses that pre-date the new higher and degree level apprenticeship standards. One has just started a degree level apprenticeship at LSBU.

What do you get out of the Degree Apprentice scheme?

The main advantages of the new apprenticeship standards for us are:

  • The apprenticeship is independently accredited by a professional body and our degree level apprentices come out with both a bachelor’s degree and a professional accreditation e.g. RICS.
  • We are much more connected to the day release part of trainee’s development. We sign up to a three way agreement between trainee, LSBU and ourselves which enables information to be shared more readily.
  • The apprenticeship structure gives us more involvement with the workplace element that we are incorporating into our Foundation Programme.

From a commercial perspective it makes sense for us to actively look for great school and college leavers so we can recoup some of our apprenticeship levy. We don’t see this as a compromise as we are seeing the business benefit from the contribution our apprentices are making.

- Bethany Copland

Does coping with losing staff for one day a week cause any issues?

Day release is a familiar concept within our business and we are set up to deal with it. We’re supportive of people taking time out to develop their skills and recognise the longer term benefits of investing up front in our staff’s development.

Part of my role is to monitor our new joiners who are undertaking qualifications, and make sure that they get the support they need. Everyone learns differently and at different speeds, so if people need extra study leave or are finding things difficult, there’s always someone they can talk to. We support everyone so that we get the best out of our people.

What do you think the future holds for apprenticeships?

I think it will go from strength to strength. From the apprentices' perspective, being able to complete studies alongside building ‘real world’ experience and earning a salary is likely to be increasingly attractive.

From a business perspective the apprenticeship structure brings us closer to our peoples off site learning. Integrating our internal training with the day release apprenticeship is only going to benefit their learning. It is also great that the new apprenticeships aren’t age restricted. A number of our experienced staff are actually looking at taking the apprenticeship route to continue their development.

From a commercial perspective it makes sense for us to actively look for great school and college leavers so we can recoup some of our apprenticeship levy. We don’t see this as a compromise as we are seeing the business benefit from the contribution our apprentices are making.

If you'd like more information on apprenticeships at LSBU contact our dedicated apprenticeships team.

 
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