‘We must nurture the talent of the future’

Sean Keyes joined Liverpool civil & structural engineering firm Sutcliffe in 1990 and with National Apprenticeship Week under way the now managing director talks about the importance of training 

Sean Keyes
Sean Keyes, managing director of civil engineering firm Sutcliffe


Having joined Sutcliffe in 1990, five years after starting a YTS (Youth Training Scheme), shortly after our current director William Baldwin did, I have always had an incredibly close allegiance to training, mentoring and nurturing the future generation in our industry, as have all of our senior team.

Mine and Billy’s stories aren’t uncommon here. There have been numerous success stories over the years of school, college and university leavers that have walked through our doors low on confidence and experience, and left months, years and in many cases decades later as new men and women, ready to take on the world.

At Sutcliffe we take real care in the progression of our apprentices and despite this week being Apprenticeship Week, it is crucial that we remember to recognise and celebrate our youngsters 52 weeks a year, as these are the engineers, CAD technicians and building surveyors of the future.

In many workplaces, apprentices can be seen as an inconvenience, a burden on time and resources or simply a box ticking exercise that’ll generate positive PR and corporate social responsibility.

READ MORE: Sutcliffe wins new deals and expands team

However, while apprentices are seen in this way, the whole culture of the sector will never change and that is another reason why we see our apprentices as a continuation of our ‘office family’, as well as a crucial component towards the success of Sutcliffe both in the office and on-site.

The construction sector that I joined four decades ago has changed drastically. With technology, state-of-the-art programming and new modern methods of construction, it is our youngsters with their fresh outlook on work and life, that is educating and helping our older engineers that have earned their stripes using the more ‘old-school’ ways of completing tasks.

I’d like to again say a huge thank you to our current apprentices, and our former graduates, that have made Sutcliffe a place that people want to come to work, learn, and grow.

As we gear up to welcome more apprentices throughout 2022 and beyond, I am looking forward to seeing the future Sean Keyes, William Baldwin’s and Jacqui Johnson’s bursting onto the scene and taking our company and the sector as a whole to the next level.

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