Wolverhampton apprentice is building her future
08 February 2021
A Wolverhampton apprentice engineer, who has been promoted during her training, believes apprenticeships are the best way to learn a trade.
To mark National Apprenticeship Week 23-year-old Charlotte Gilham shares why she feels this training route is best for her.
Charlotte joined Persimmon Homes West Midlands in 2019 as a trainee technical assistant and embarked a HND diploma in Construction Management and The Built Environment, managing her studies on a day release programme at the University of Wolverhampton.
A part-time painter, Charlotte is driven by problem solving and, after a short apprenticeship with a housing association, she knew the construction industry and engineering was the career she wanted.
Charlotte said: “I learn better through physically doing the job and by constantly putting my studies into practice, and this is what an apprenticeship gives me.
“I feel fortunate to have joined a great team at Persimmon whose guidance and support is helping me to shape my career. I was thrilled to be promoted to assistant engineer in November last year. ”
“Initially my job role was supporting my colleagues and getting involved in all aspects from pre-purchase to completion including planning applications, reviewing drawings, assessing historical sites, through to site adoptions.”
“This was perfect for me. It ensured I understood as many aspects of the role as possible which improved my study days. I was getting the opportunity to put my knowledge into practise in the real world – this is just not possible in full time education.”
Since Charlotte’s promotion she has been given greater responsibility, including the preservation of the former Goodyear Clock Tower and a historic pumping station in Lichfield, overseen by her mentor, boss and inspiration, technical director Dan Hassall.
“Dan is a big support. He spends time taking me through sketches and projects, asking me for my opinions and challenging my choices, instead of simply telling me the answers.”
“One of my proudest moments was getting recognition from a directors’ meeting for tackling, solving and completing a number of development handover tasks resulting in the successful adoption of developments.”
“Working on historic sites is both challenging and enjoyable. The Goodyear Clock Tower was fabulous as my grandfather, as well as other family members have a strong history with the site. I had wonderful conversations with my grandfather and I think we were both quite proud.”
“My advice to people thinking about or just starting an apprenticeship is don’t be afraid to ask questions when you have the opportunity. Confidence will come, be patient. It is hard work managing your studies with your workload and life, but I feel the reward is worth it.”
Dan Hassall, technical director for Persimmon Homes West Midlands, added: “Charlotte is a perfect example of how an apprenticeship can successfully work. Her passion, personality and determination will ensure her a successful future in the construction industry.”
Pictured: Charlotte Gilham apprentice engineer for Persimmon Homes West Midlands.