Local Amey apprentice, Ben Walls, is celebrating National Apprenticeship Week by sharing his story of how the opportunity has helped him leave behind a life of crime and get his career back on track.
Ben, 24, joined Amey in September 2013 on the highways service delivered in partnership with Birmingham City Council after taking part the highly-acclaimed ‘Team’ programme run by West Midlands Police and the Prince’s Trust.
‘Team’ is a 12-week a self-improvement course delivered directly from police stations that aims to help to transform the lives of young ex-offenders. In Birmingham, Amey works closely with The Prince’s Trust and West Midlands Police to offer two week placements as part of the programme.
While Ben’s initial placement as part of the programme wasn’t with Amey, the company’s support for the initiative was ultimately what led Ben to apply for one of six highways apprenticeships on offer.
“The recruitment process was different from anything I had done before” explained Ben.
“We were invited in to an assessment day which started off with an introduction into the company and everything Amey are involved in. Then we were put into groups to do a team building exercise, which involved building a rocket out of the materials we were provided with. We had to present the finished piece to a panel and explain how we came up with the idea and how it worked. It was extremely challenging and helped me realise my strengths and weaknesses.”
Ben was one of two Prince’s Trust candidates to successfully come through the recruitment day and secure apprenticeships with Amey in Birmingham. His first role with the company was in the arboriculture team, looking after the city’s 76,000 street trees.
“I spent two months within the arbs team and it gave me a basic understanding of how everything worked in the department on a day to day basis. I then spent two months with each of the other operational departments which gave me a great understanding of how each worked and an insight into what I might want to do in the future.”
As part of his initial training, Ben went on numerous courses, including health and safety training and a 12 week course at a local college where he gained qualifications in basic construction skills.
But as Ben explains, his journey with Amey didn’t end there.
“My role within Amey has progressed more than I could’ve imagined,” he said
“I have always had an interest in working with numbers so I mentioned this and was given the opportunity to work within the commercial team.”
“I hope to continue to progress and see what other opportunities I have while working with such a great team. I’m currently looking for courses in which I can gain sufficient qualifications so I can progress my role even further”.
Ben’s experience has had such a positive impact on his life and now he is using that experience to help others who might find themselves in similar situations to where he once was.
“I feel I have developed massively while I’ve been at Amey, my whole outlook for my future has changed for the good,” he said.
“I’m still involved with the Princes Trust doing talks to help other young people progress with their lives and I’m working towards my Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award. The activities involved in this are very challenging but makes you feel good once you have completed them. I’ve met a lot of great people along the way and hope to meet many more.”
PC Sonya Hill, Prince’s Trust coordinator for the West Midlands Police, said: “Ben is one of many successes we are having within our partnership with The Prince’s Trust. This partnership is only enhanced by working with companies like Amey who are willing to assist this partnership and open up both work placements and future employment opportunities. Something West Midlands Police are very grateful for in helping to move young people forward.”
Yet Ben believes the real praise should go to those who have helped him along the way on his journey so far. He said, “I would just like to thank the Princes Trust and Amey for giving me this opportunity and hopefully I can repay them for all the hard work they have put into helping me.”
For more information on Apprenticeships with Amey and to register your interest in future opportunities, visit www.amey.co.uk.
Notes to Editors
• In 2010, Amey won the Birmingham Highways Maintenance and Management Service contract to manage and maintain the city’s roads over the next 25 years. The contract will see a huge investment into the city’s road network and Amey is working in partnership with Birmingham City Council to deliver the contract. The works include refurbishment and improvement of the city’s roads, footways, bridges, tunnels, street lighting and traffic control systems.
• Amey is a leading UK public and regulated services provider with over 21,000 employees.
• Amey operates over 320 contracts, providing an unrivalled range of services including utilities, highways, waste management, rail, justice solutions, social housing and facilities management. Services are underpinned by our leading consulting and asset management capabilities, which allow us to offer stand-alone or integrated service solutions to a range of clients.
For more information and an image supporting this story, contact Lara Thorns on 07843368954