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South West Highways Ltd welcomes 222nd apprentice

South West Highways Ltd (SWH) is pleased to welcome its 222nd apprentice. Ruben Forrester, 19, of Okehampton, Devon, is undertaking an NVQ Level 2 in Highways Maintenance (Construction) – Excavation Operations which he will complete in 2017.

After enrolling at university to study filmmaking and media, Ruben soon realised that this path wasn’t right for him and returned home after a year. Ruben wanted to take on a challenging, hands-on role that would teach him a variety of skills and looked into apprenticeships for various trades, such as plumbing and carpentry, before settling on the scheme offered by SWH.

“I liked the fact that you learn more than one job” says Ruben. “You learn so many new skills because every day is different and that appealed to me.” With a family friend already employed at SWH, Ruben was aware of the company’s commitment to training and progression and felt confident that this was the right role for him.

Ruben’s apprenticeship commenced on 19th October 2015 and his first week saw him out with road teams patching surfaces. He continues: “It’s great to have the opportunity to learn new skills and be out doing work from the beginning. I have friends who are learning other trades and I have already achieved more in two weeks than they have because I’ve been out actually doing the job.”

Lesley Code, who heads up training at SWH commented: “Ruben is a prime example of how university isn’t suitable for everyone and that there are many other pathways to gaining qualifications that can help young people to have fulfilling and profitable careers.”

Ruben has praised the teams he has been working with and commented on how keen everyone is to share their experience, including teaching him the safest, and easiest, techniques for using tools. In the long term, Ruben would like to learn as much as he can on the tools before progressing through the ranks as an agent or manager.

When asked if he would recommend this scheme to others, Ruben said “Definitely. It offers so much more than any other apprenticeship.” Ruben’s advice to other apprentices is: “Stick at it! Accept that you won’t know everything straight away and be keen to try something new. You won’t learn unless you do it.”

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