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It’s been the best decision I’ve made

By Kathryn Kirk

Aimee Harte from Randalstown in Co Antrim is in her second year of an HLA in Civil Engineering. She’s working at McAdam Design and says an apprenticeship has been the best route for her.

My family has always been ‘hands–on’. My Dad is very mechanically minded, brilliant with his hands – and even built our house. I guess I’ve always been that way inclined, enjoying working with my hands and seeing things come together.

Ultimately, I really enjoy working. I got my first part–time job when I was 13 and I like being busy. I definitely have a personality type that thrives on busyness. I am more focussed when I’m busy and am able to prioritise well, so an apprenticeship was a good fit.

Workplus came into my school and that was when I decided for sure I was going to apply. I also enjoyed reading about apprentice stories on the website. My older brother encouraged me to apply as well, saying he wished he had done an apprenticeship through Workplus. My parents also thought it sounded great.

A further confirmation was that McAdam was part of Workplus. I had done some work experience with McAdam, had got to know a few people there and really liked the ethos of the company.

The best decision I’ve made

I’m now in my second year and doing an apprenticeship has been the best decision I’ve made.

Civil Engineering is a great pathway because it’s so broad. With the apprenticeship, there is so much opportunity to diverge and delve into different parts of the subject including infrastructure, architecture and project management.

At the moment, I’m working with Northern Ireland Water in the Developer Services team, and that’s been really enjoyable, giving me insight into another company.

I’m very grateful to McAdam Design as they’re really committed to helping their apprentices. Bill Gowdy is an incredible support and organises monthly CPD meetings with the apprentices, giving us advice and direction in our professional development.

As a company, they’re always thinking about us and always willing to give of their time. Even with coursework, colleagues have been very happy to sit with me and it has been great getting to meet people who are doing a job that I would like to be doing in the future. 

All in all, I feel a lot of gratitude at being able to be earning alongside learning.

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