8 March 2018
As National Apprenticeship Week 2018 draws to a close, we are continuing to profile the young apprentices at WYG who are paving the way for our industry’s future. We are proud to offer them the chance to work on live projects and gain practical skills under the guidance of a nominated mentor.
Today, we check in with Matthew Baker, who started his two-year project management apprenticeship in our Guildford office towards the end of last year. Unlike many apprentices, Matthew has already completed a finance degree at the University of Kent prior to undertaking his apprenticeship.
What does your job involve?
I am a Trainee Project Manager, so I support project managers with a variety of projects. At the moment, I’m supporting about ten different projects in terms of, for example, health and safety reports. I’m doing quite a bit of work with my line manager, Alan Cliffe, helping him set up projects to do a tender, for example. And then I’m also pretty involved with tender reviews for local councils.
There’s no shortage of work, a lot of which has been support work, so I’m currently trying to understand the processes in a way that will enable me to be a full-on project manager after these initial two years of training.
What qualifications will you have at the end of your training?
At the end of my course, I will have completed the AGILE Project Management Foundation exam, and I will also have attained my APMQ (APM Project Management Qualification). Both qualifications will give me the ability to not just be a member of the organisation, but also execute projects to a professional standard as a project manager in my own right.
Why did you choose an apprenticeship?
Without any prior experience, I thought it was the best way for me to learn. When you’re doing an apprenticeship, you’re not just learning, but also earning at the same time. You’re actually working with project managers on real-life projects, and in my case, coming to understand how WYG builds its different projects.
I’m also gaining the experience, which is very useful because, in all instances, I learn while studying and I get to see how all the elements get implemented.
Apprentices normally begin the programme while still in school. How did it feel approaching the apprenticeship as a graduate?
I think it was the right call for me in hindsight. I did a finance degree, partly because I wanted to understand the finance of a business in general, and because I knew it would give me an advantage in understanding the financials of the projects I would be dealing with.
What makes WYG a great place to work?
I think what makes WYG great is the diversity of all of its departments and all the various sectors the company covers. There’s just such a vast range. And in terms of culture, too, it’s a great place to work because I can actually sense that people are very connected with each other and happy to come to work every day. There’s a very relaxed atmosphere, but busy atmosphere, which brings the best out of the people here.
What have been your highlights so far?
I’ve particularly enjoyed visiting different offices and gaining experience from different project managers. It really helps to lend fresh perspective on all the various ways to handle each project, because, obviously, each project manager has a different approach to their work.
I would also say that going to meetings and talking to clients has been a highlight, in addition to visiting the sites themselves. It has allowed me to better understand the scale of the projects, how they are progressing, and what’s actually involved.
What has surprised you the most so far?
I was quite pleasantly taken aback by the sheer amount of work I get to do. It’s kept me busy and engaged, especially with the variation in the work every single day, and more importantly, it’s made me feel like I’m genuinely a part of the team.