NI Apprentice Week: 2023 CEF Apprentice of the Year, David Reid

7 February 2024   Skills Business Environment

As part of NI Apprenticeship Week 2024, we're celebrating the vital role apprentices play in the construction industry. In this article we look at the career journey of 2023 CEF Apprentice of the Year Winner, David Reid from Charles Brand.

Apprentice Civil Engineer, David Reid, joined Charles Brand in 2020 through the Work+ Apprenticeship scheme and in the space of three years he has gained an extensive array of experience across a range of challenging projects, including the award winning Magheracross Viewpoint in Portrush and the Belfast Tidal Flood Alleviation Scheme, which will provide tidal flood risk protection for Belfast until 2080.
David is undertaking a 7-year Apprenticeship through University of Ulster to complete his Masters in Civil Engineering. The focus for Charles Brand over the first 3 years of his 7-year apprenticeship has been providing the opportunity to develop these skills while building on the knowledge gained at university.

Commenting on his Apprenticeship route, David said: “At first glance seven years seems a long time, but, when you think about it, it’s not really. For students doing the full–time Masters, it takes five years (including a placement) and they’re coming out with student debt and much less experience.”

David’s commitment to his professional development is clearly illustrated by his interest in the Institution of Civil Engineers, his long-term goal of achieving Chartered status and his short-term goal of becoming a Technician Member (EngTech MICE). By attending regular ICE seminars and lectures, combined with his work on site, David is gaining a wide range of experience that will enable his career progression".

“What I hadn’t thought about before becoming an apprentice is how it is like a fast track for getting chartered. I was delighted to learn that I could be eligible for Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Chartership shortly after I graduate. It can take engineers years to get chartered after graduation.”

“Charles Brand has been great and colleagues are so supportive. When people realise I’m an apprentice, they give me a lot of leeway, support and encouragement. They don’t expect me to know everything, and I have a real sense that they are really bought into helping me develop professionally". 

"The financial side of the apprenticeship is really good. For me, over the duration of my apprenticeship, I’ll have earned over £100k while some of my friends will be coming out of university with £30k debt. So really, there is a difference of £130k. As well as my salary, I’m also included in the company’s healthcare scheme".

When asked what advice he would give to others considering an apprenticeship in construction, David said: “To get the most out of your apprenticeship, a good work ethic, initiative and common sense are essential. I’d also recommend doing some work experience in areas of interest so you know it’s for you. Whenever I was being interviewed, I could tell the company appreciated the fact I had completed some work experience".

“If it wasn’t for the apprenticeship, I’d be on a laptop staring at a screen. Instead, I’m in work, meeting new people, asking questions and always learning new things.”

Paddy Harney, Director in Charles Brand, who nominated David for the 2023 CEF Apprentice of the Year Award added: “David continues to be great ambassador for Apprentices and has a hugely positive influence with everyone he engages with. He is currently using his Volunteer Day allocation and Sponsorship, provided by Charles Brand, to join a team drilling much needed clean water wells in West Africa.” 

“Whether it is developing digital forms to improve safety or complex setting out challenges, David combines his fresh ideas, energy and enthusiasm with obvious problem-solving skills".

“As an Investors in People Platinum business Charles Brand offer Apprentices the best experience needed in order to maximise their career opportunities.”


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