Hat-trick of PlanBEE graduates secure jobs with Bowmer & Kirkland

Three graduates from an innovative training programme aimed at tackling skills shortages in the construction industry have been recruited by one of the country’s leading construction, engineering and development companies.

Josh Chapman, Jordi Morris and Jack Reay have all been offered positions with Bowmer & Kirkland after completing the two- year PlanBEE programme.

The unique, flexible training programme was launched in in September 2016 to retain the brightest new talent in the North East region, plug skills gaps, and create a more flexible workforce capable of working across various disciplines in the construction and built environment sectors.  

Rather than follow a traditional training model where students complete their qualifications while working in one company, PlanBEE gives trainees the chance to work across several companies and therefore gain a more rounded understanding of the built environment industry.

Both Josh and Jack have been employed as Trainee Site Engineers, whilst Jordi will take up the position of Trainee Quantity Surveyor at Bowmer & Kirkland’s Sunderland office.

On his appointment, Jordi said: “It’s thanks to PlanBee that I have secured this permanent position with Bowmer & Kirkland. While on the programme, I completed a placement with them and I knew straight away that this was the company I wanted to work for.

“I’ll be working alongside a senior surveyor to look after the costs and oversee various construction projects. This is definitely the role for me; I’ve always been good with numbers and planning and I love seeing a project through to its end.

“For me, this isn’t just a job; it’s my future. There’ll be opportunities to progress onto a degree and, eventually, into senior positions once I’ve been to university and gained my chartered surveyor status. That’s my main career goal now.”

Working with Gateshead College, industry leaders have created a bespoke higher-level skills programme that provides budding professionals with study and off-the-job training at the college’s Skills Academy for Construction on Team Valley, along with a job working with some of the region’s leading companies. It has been tailored specifically for and by the North East construction sector, providing students with a starting salary of £11,383 per year, a professional qualification and a guaranteed job opportunity on graduation.

Andrew Marshall, Commercial Manager at Bowmer & Kirkland said: “We’ve been involved in the PlanBEE programme, as a sponsor, for the last 12 months and we see great value in the scheme because it is enabling us to tackle skills shortages and recruit new fresh talent into our company.

“We were particularly impressed with the calibre of the graduates that we have recruited. The on-the-job training that the students undertook has provided them with real-world skills and given them a greater insight into the industry and we’re thrilled to have them on board.”