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Supporting work-based learning in East Anglia

29 September 2021
Since 1979, Barnes has been helping local school leavers take their first career step, by offering a combination of work experience and degree level study through its Management Trainee (MT) Programme.

Currently over half of the managerial staff have come through this route, including three of the current directors, Mark Bailey, Chris Bruce, and Simon Severwright, who was recently promoted to Surveying Director.

Together with senior quantity surveyor Matt McLaughlin, Simon oversees the MT programme which is structured so that trainees gain a detailed understanding of the business. He said.

“Construction management covers many professional disciplines and, over five years, candidates spend time in each department within the business, under the care of a mentor; someone who has usually gone through the programme themselves.

“In addition to the work-based experience, trainees also study for a BSc Hons in Construction Management on day release at university, which is fully funded by Barnes.”

Throughout the years, Barnes has remained committed to its programme regardless of the economic climate; refusing to allow trading conditions to dictate its training policy.

“Every year, we recruit from local schools, and we have taken on four new management trainees this year, who join the seven currently going through the programme.” Simon continued.

So, what is Barnes looking for when offering a place on the programme?

Matt explains: “As well as looking for young people who get good A Level grades, or equivalent vocational qualifications, we are also interested in those that are keen to learn and can demonstrate they have outside interests and hobbies.”
And why should a young person look to apply to the programme?

“What appealed to me was that I would be earning a salary, getting real on-the-job experience whilst studying for my degree in construction management.

“The great thing was that I was years ahead of the other people studying at university full time, as I was practicing and applying my work experiences to my learning, and my learning to my work experiences. Another bonus was that there were no course fees to pay, so I didn’t end up with a load of student debt when I’d completed my degree."

“Yet, the thing that really sets the MT programme at Barnes apart from the rest, is that it gives you a real insight into the different aspects of the business and construction generally, so you can make a well-informed decision - based on your own experience - on where you want to develop your future career.”
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