- As a member of The 5% Club, we commit to having at least 5% of our workforce classed as Emerging Talent, working with us through apprenticeships, sponsored student placements or as graduates
- We run work experience and ‘Open Doors’ opportunities for local schools and colleges, where students visit our offices/sites to gain a better understanding of the work that we deliver, with the objective of encouraging them into engineering. Where we can, we will focus on schools and colleges that are located in deprived locations, with the objective of unlocking the potential of under-privileged students
- We provide careers advice and guidance to students
- On a number of our contracts we have people who have volunteered their time to be STEM ambassadors
- In line with M Group Services' Gold Award for the Armed Forces Covenant, we work with organisations such as ‘Buildforce’ and ‘Career Transition Partnership’ to find opportunities for ex-service personnel. We also work with HM Prison Service to find work opportunities for ex-offenders
Some great examples below across our contracts
On Our Surrey Street Lighting Contract
we hold a yearly Open Doors Day, where members of the public can visit our project. At our last event we had 30 visitors attend, including 16 students from Guildford College who were interested in becoming electrical engineers. On the day our team gave a presentation which provided an overview of our business and in particular explained the project at Surrey Street Lighting and what has happened to upgrade the street lighting across the county over the past few years. Following the Open Doors event, our Surrey contract provided one of the students with an apprenticeship opportunity.
Our Peterborough Contract
supported the hugely successful Peterborough STEM Festival in 2018, interacting with over 1,000 children aged 4 to 16. Volunteers showcased the highways sector and provided a range of interactive activities for the children. This included a bridge building exercise, which proved popular and has since been used at a number of school visits. The local team commented that ‘it was wonderful to see so many families participating and enjoying our stand, with a healthy interest from girls as well as boys.’
Our Oxfordshire Contract
has been working with Springhill Open Prison since 2016 to offer highways work placements to prisoners nearing the end of their sentences aiming to support them to readjust to life following release. So far, the scheme has delivered ten highways operative work placements, providing valuable skills, including training to drive large goods vehicles, giving them the start they need to secure a stable job and move their life forward. In recognition of the success of the scheme, our Oxfordshire Contract won a Partnership Award at the prison’s annual awards ceremony.
Our Somerset Highways Contract
works with the County Council to identify the needs of young people and provide the support and skills needed to gain employment. Working collaboratively with Social Services, our team have developed a work experience programme targeted at Care Leavers (someone who has been looked after by the Local Authority for more than 13 weeks from the age of 14). The programme involves a number of group workshops with members of the contract team and in-house mentors (specifically trained by HR). Here, young people develop their skills including interview skills and CV writing. We also provide insights into the construction industry and the Highways contract. The programme offers a six week work placement with a suitable candidate (who has completed the first part of the course) whereby they experience different aspects of the business with the view to go onto our apprenticeship or NEETS (Not in Education, Employment or Training) programme.
Our Peterborough Contract
work with the Skills Service, a local organisation aimed at developing the knowledge, aspirations and employability skills of young people in Peterborough. The contract has supported this service over a number of years through a wide variety of events, including:
- Mock interviews
- CV writing
- Build a business day
- Career fairs
- Meet the professional events
- Work experience
In the case of work experience, the contract take on a number of students each year for a two-week placement. This structured work experience provides students with an insight into all aspects of our highway service from transport planning and design through to schemes maintenance and commercial.
Streetlighting teams in Croydon & Lewisham
welcomed local students and members of the public to site tours to see operatives in action. The open days took place as part of this year’s Build UK Open Doors programme, promoting careers in construction, which saw hundreds of construction sites across the country show people behind the hoardings to learn about construction and their individual projects.
The Streetlighting event received some great feedback. Oliver Balay, Academic Leader from Croydon College, said: “It was a very insightful and engaging tour for my Level 2 Electrical learners to have first-hand experience of the type of work that this part of the electrical industry carries out. I look forward to Croydon College working closely with the Croydon and Lewisham PFI teams on more potential opportunities in the near future.”
Marc Zahra, Customer Liaison Officer for the Croydon & Lewisham Street lighting project, said: “The Open Doors Day for both projects was a huge success again this year and it was really satisfying to be able to
engage with those that are passionate about the industry and to provide an insight into the work that we do.
Some residents commented that the event has given them a far greater appreciation for all of the hard work that goes into a street lighting contract, and comments like these really mean a lot to the teams, who all go above and beyond to make the contracts so successful.”
Our Oxfordshire Highways team
provide a variety of learning and development opportunities for local schools and colleges, as well as providing careers advice. This includes:
Coventry University – Participate on the Industrial Advisory Board
Providing feedback on the degree apprenticeships they are running for a number of our trainees Oxford College – Participate on the Employee Advisory Board
- We have offered to give talks and lectures
- Ran a 13-week design project with the College
- We will continue to liaise and support the College as the Covid restrictions are lifted
STEM placements offered in collaboration with Science Oxford
- 3-4 week summer placement for Year 12 student achieving Crest Gold Award.
- We volunteer at other schools/college STEM events – e.g. careers talks and presentations to students on careers in construction/civil engineering and ‘living library’ events for students to quiz engineers on their work. This forms part of our community volunteering initiative.
- We provide work experience to students in Year 12-13 and provide advice on careers in civil engineering for them (see above).
- We occasionally offer paid summer internships for undergraduates seeking industry experience, which can then lead to sponsorship and permanent employment when they graduate.
- We run a structured Graduate & Apprentice programme
- John Murray attends the City of Oxford College Employer Advisory Board to provide support and feedback on their related courses.
- Phil Raven attends Coventry University’s Industrial Advisory Board to assist in providing feedback on the degree apprenticeships they are running for a number of our trainees.
Our Oxfordshire Highways contract
work with Oxford Brookes University, supporting their Environmental Consultancy Module. The contract set an Annual Brief which the students are required to investigate and produce a final report and recommendations. The Report and recommendations are reviewed, and feedback provided. The Briefs issued to the students tend to be issues or projects we are currently investigating on contract (although not exclusively).This support has been running approximately 6 years.
Typical projects have included:
- Drayton Depot Low Carbon solutions/initiatives
- Roadside verge Nature Reserves (enhancement and protection)
- Solutions for Road Sweeper Waste