Graduate Apprentice Ciaran’s fresh tech on construction path
Ciaran Fallan is discovering there’s more to a career in construction than muddy building sites as he masters the new digital tools of the trade on a Graduate Apprenticeship.
Ciaran, from Salsburgh, North Lanarkshire, completed his Foundation Apprenticeship and took a summer job at the firm before successfully applying for the Construction and Built Environment Graduate Apprenticeship.
He started in his new job in August, and as well as learning more traditional site skills he is using his tech savvy to assist more experienced colleagues in mastering digital design technologies like Virtual Reality – knowledge that the industry now demands.
Ciaran says the confidence he gained on the Foundation Apprenticeship he started in Year 5 while at St Margaret’s High School, Airdrie, has made it easier to move into his new role as a trainee site manager – a lynchpin of any construction project.
Ciaran said: “I was made to feel part of the team from the first minute. I’m already being given much more responsibility and I’m getting more involved each day. The Foundation Apprenticeship was a big help. I didn’t know what to expect when I started but it set me up.
“My first impressions of being on site were how good the offices were, the high standard. You expect just a muddy mess. But it was amazing to see how many drawings go into a project and how much tech plays a part - the level is mesmerising.
“I had intended to go to university after the Foundation Apprenticeship, but I knew this was the route I wanted to go down. The other Graduate Apprentices at Morgan Sindall Construction who started at the same time have all been to university and say this is the better route. The support is amazing.
“People in the industry have also told me you’re so much better off getting the experience while you get paid. It’s a no-brainer. It’s even better with all the new technology. The training here is brilliant and will only get better every year.”
Ciaran is doing one day a week at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and has been entrusted with using a state-of-the-art 360-degree camera that captures progress reports on building projects.
I had intended to go to university after the Foundation Apprenticeship, but I knew this was the route I wanted to go down. The other Graduate Apprentices at Morgan Sindall Construction who started at the same time have all been to university and say this is the better route. The support is amazing.
Morgan Sindell Graduate Apprentice
He continued: “More new tech came in this week, and I’m one of the people on the site using the programme. I can help more experienced people on the job to use the technology. People are even asking me for info at meetings.”
Graduate Apprenticeships are a way to get qualified up to Master’s degree level while in paid employment. Designed by education and employers, Graduate Apprenticeships are offered in key sectors that need highly skilled employees.
Ciaran began his Foundation Apprenticeship with Forth Valley College in September 2020 and learned about health and safety, siteworks, materials and mechanics for construction. Maths and Engineering Maths lessons at National 5 level complemented his practical learning.
His mentor at Morgan Sindall Construction, David Lannigan, Senior Operations Manager, said apprentices are helping to address critical skills shortages across all areas of the industry. David said: “There is a resource problem in getting people into the industry. But apprentices bring energy to the business, and Graduate Apprenticeships give us the opportunity to mould people into what we want, using a structured learning pathway.
“A Graduate Apprenticeship is a really good way to develop into an all-rounder. A Graduate Apprentice is better able to gain a good understanding of the industry early on, because of the time spent understanding Health and Safety, quality control, management, and technical and hands-on knowledge. I went to university, but if the Graduate Apprenticeship option had been open to me I would have done it this way.”
David added: “Foundation Apprenticeships let us see people and potentially offer them a Graduate Apprentice job. Getting someone we know and can develop helps us from a cost point of view in terms of recruiting and interviewing.”
Ciaran’s path to his current role began during his Foundation Apprenticeship when his enthusiasm and curiosity about the industry made a good impression at a North Lanarkshire Council employer engagement event with Morgan Sindall Construction. Just two years later he is working on is the £28million Riverbank Community Hub – an amalgamation of two schools and a nursery in North Lanarkshire.
Melissa Fraser, Vocational Education Co-ordinator at North Lanarkshire Council, said: “The Vocational Education team has developed an exciting partnership model which has given some of our Foundation Apprentices the opportunity to go on placement with leading construction and civil engineering companies, allowing them to work on developments here in North Lanarkshire.
“The aim is to inspire young people around the many careers and opportunities within the construction and engineering industry and provide them with the educational tools, support and real-life experiences needed to give them a head start.
“Ciaran is a credit to himself, and a great example of successful partnership working and the wrap-around support he received from his school, the Vocational Education team, Forth Valley College and Morgan Sindall Construction.
“This initiative builds on our work and recommendations from our Workforce for the Future Strategy, Skills Development Scotland’s Regional Skills Assessment and the Scottish Government’s Future Skills Action Plan.”
To learn more about Foundation, Modern and Graduate Apprenticeships and search for vacancies, visit apprenticeships.scot