New plant operative apprentice has hit the ground running14th Sep 2022

From working at a care home to becoming a plant operative apprentice is not the typical career path, but there’s nowhere else Sophie Evans would rather be.

Inspired by the idea of driving lorries as a youngster, the 20-year-old from Llan Ffestiniog, left her care home job to join the apprenticeship scheme at Jones Bros Civil Engineering UK.

Friends already on the award-winning programme and in full-time roles at Jones Bros gave Sophie some inside knowledge about the two-year plant operative apprenticeship.

She said: “I’ve always had some interest in this industry and when I was younger, I loved the idea of driving lorries, so I always aspired to a career where I could operate machines.

“Before starting my apprenticeship, I attended a training centre in Denbigh for theory tests and to learn about operating the machines.

“I really enjoyed my time at the training centre and jumped at the chance to apply to the apprenticeship scheme, it was definitely a good decision.”

This environment was certainly a huge change for Sophie, who is currently working at Graig Quarry, near Mold.

She continued: “Someone recently saw me in my high-vis jacket and was surprised because they thought I worked at a care home, I proudly explained that I now work at a quarry.”

When asked what it is like working in a male-dominated industry, Sophie’s response was a quite simple one.

“It had never crossed my mind that I’d be working in a male-dominated industry, I just knew that it’s what I wanted for my career,” she explained.

“So, I say to any girl considering civil engineering, to just go for it!”

Of course, no two days are the same on a quarry site but for Sophie there are some boxes that need to be ticked on a daily basis.

She said: “A typical day at the quarry starts with a briefing with my site manager to discuss what needs to be done.

“I then start my daily checks of the machinery and attachments before operating the articulated dump truck to move earth and other materials out of the quarry.”

Established in the 1950s, Jones Bros owns one of the largest plant fleets in the UK and employs approximately 500 people.

The company is currently working on contracts in various sectors including highwaysflood and marine defencewaste management and renewable energy around the UK.

The company runs an award-winning apprenticeship scheme, which has produced nearly 50 per cent of its current workforce, with many of its senior managers having started out as apprentices or in a trainee role. It has recruited more than 100 apprentices during the past three years.