With National Apprentice Week just round the corner we spoke to Tony Franklin, who started his career at BAM as a Level 3 Apprentice. Six years on Tony has also completed a Level 4 Apprenticeship and gained a BAM (Hons) in Construction Management. He is now an Assistant Site Manager at BAM’s S3 project, part of Argent LLP’s King’s Cross redevelopment.
How did you become an apprentice at BAM?
I was looking for a more hands on method of learning and came across an agency which offered a level 3 Apprenticeship with BAM. Although I already had a level 3 qualification, I felt that the experience the apprenticeship offered me was an opportunity I couldn’t miss out on. I was fortunate enough to be chosen by BAM for an interview during a ‘meet the contractors’ event hosted by the agency. From there the rest was history.
What made you interested in a job in construction?
Curiosity is what first got me into construction, I was always fascinated in the building process and was determined to find out how it worked. Once I started to learn my passion for construction grew along with my knowledge. I have also really benefitted from having site teams that have supported me in my passion to learn more.
What other projects have you worked on and how has this enabled you to learn and widen your experience?
I have already worked on three projects and am now on my fourth. At my first project I managed a package and learnt a bit about co-ordination and working with the team to build my knowledge.
The second project I worked on was Q-Zone. This was a new type of challenge for me as it was a timber frame structure with a lightweight steel frame, which sat on top of the London Underground tunnels and in some parts the tunnel was less than 2m from where our foundation was being set. This was followed by the T-Zone, which was the largest project I have ever worked on. Here I learnt how to deal with the pressures of co-ordination and critical works through the job.
Today I am at S3. I am managing the steel work and employing all the knowledge and methods I have learnt on previous jobs - improving on what I know and learning new things.
I have been able to build on my experience and learn more, because I have been fortunate enough to have a great team on each job. This has helped to nurture and guide me and push myself to get more done and be better.
Describe your typical day on site?
A typical day for me starts at 7:30am issuing any permits required for the day and ensuring work areas are suitable. Then if there are any inductions to carry out, I undertake these at 8:30am.
Once these are completed, I go back out on to site, to ensure that safety standards are being met in the work areas. I fill out my site diary stating where operatives are working and I check the progress of the package I’m managing. To do this I liaise with the sub-contractors’ site manager, discussing current progress, deadlines for handovers and any issues that may have been raised. Once I’m back at the office I organise and reply to any emails, and deal with any outstanding paperwork I may have.
On a typical day I carry out another two walks to close off any issues that were raised and ensure that the relevant information for that day’s work has been passed on to the site teams. I am responsible for capturing all the notes from the Plan of the day meeting and sending out the meeting minutes. This makes certain that all team members have the information they need.
Finally, I before we leave for the day, I close off any permits, check working areas have been left safe and that everything is clear before leaving for the day.
What does career progression at BAM look like?
Career progression at BAM looks hopeful for me. I have been fortunate to work with some of the greatest managers I could have asked for and I learn from everyone each day. Getting this additional support - where required - has helped me build myself and hopefully this continues to be reflected within my career progression.
What would you like to do next at BAM?
I would like to carry on progressing and up through the ranks. However, one of my main goals, is to find ways to make it easier for everyone to manage things. I hope to do this by identifying and/or implementing methods that can be used on all sites.
What advice would you give to someone looking to get into an apprenticeship and the industry?
I would say that it’s not an easy run and your character will be tested throughout as you face the various challenges that come with the job. But take it all in and learn from it, develop yourself and keep going. For me, personally, the best way to learn is through practical situations, because if you experience it rather than just read it in a book, you learn how to deal with similar situations in the future.
To find out how you can start your career at BAM, just like Tony did click here