Age no barrier to a career in civil engineering4th Nov 2021

Dan Gray, 33, came relatively late to civil engineering having worked as a builder for more than a decade.

Starting as an apprentice at 29 was a major decision, and represented a significant investment in his career as he looked to support his growing family.

Nearly five years down the line, Dan, who is married with two children and now lives in Llanarmon-yn-Iâl near Ruthin after relocating from the Isle of Wight, says it’s all been worthwhile.

Currently working on a railway project in north Wales, he’s made the step up to a supervising role, which involves leading a group of operatives and ensuring everyone knows their tasks for the day.

He said: “I wanted a job I could make a career out of. I’d had jobs on building sites since I left school, but eventually I decided I needed a change, and that civil engineering was where I should be.

“I was very happy when Jones Bros offered me the apprenticeship. If you show that you’re willing to learn, they’ll give you so much opportunity to pick up tickets to drive lots of different vehicles.

“When I started, I was 29 and about to get married. I felt like a grandad in the room of apprentices! However my background did mean I had a bit of an advantage as I was familiar with how sites work,

“It was a drop in pay for 12 months compared to what I earned self-employed, but that small sacrifice is worth it as the long-term benefits are huge.

“If you’re on the fence about it, I’d definitely encourage you to go for it: the apprenticeship includes all the qualifications you need, and if you’ve got the right attitude, Jones Bros will help you make a real career out of it.

“I’m proof of this. Within two years I was promoted to a ganger, looking after a team of 30. I also remember saying in my interview I wanted to be a site foreman within a decade, and here I am already.

“I manage jobs, give the plant operatives their daily briefings, as well as order materials occasionally, but I’m still involved when it comes to operating machinery and getting the job done.”

“One day I’d like to run my own site, and I know Jones Bros will back me 100 per cent.”

Garmon Hafal, Jones Bros training manager, said: “Dan is a shining example of what is possible for our employees.

“We place great emphasis on providing training and development opportunities and many of our senior managers started out as apprentices or in a trainee role.”