Developing the future

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We are passionate about nurturing the future generation of construction industry professionals through our well-regarded apprenticeship programme.  We are proud that two of our longest serving employees began their career with Portland as apprentices.

Our apprenticeship programme is led from the top, with Managing Director Lee Barr directly responsible.  This reinforces the top-level commitment given to training and development within Portland.  This commitment has been in place since the company’s founding, with Managing Director John Hardy taking a keen interest in this area and establishing the commitment which Portland still stands by today.   As a company we have always recognised the benefits that apprenticeships can bring to our organisation.

We target our apprenticeship programme at young people leaving school.  Lee works in close collaboration with Business Development Manager, Sharon Shaw, to oversee and manage all apprenticeship opportunities.  This includes:

  • Identifying suitable training providers in the local area who our team can work with, some examples include: Emmanuel College, Gateshead College, Newcastle College and Sunderland College
  • Preparing a full training framework for each provider and apprentice, including functional skills. NVQ and literacy & numeracy qualifications.
  • Developing engaging recruitment campaigns to attract suitable candidates
  • Identifying local schools and colleges with which we can work and promote opportunities.  We enjoy beneficial working relationships with a number of these including Park View School, St Thomas More and Sunderland College.

We are proud to work with Sunderland College’s ‘Housing Innovation and Skills Construction Employer Hub’ and ‘Education Partnership North East’.  As part of this partnership, staff have attended careers fairs at schools and colleges across the region.  Portland staff talk with interested students about the careers available in civil & structural engineering while also providing information on how to get into the industry.

In addition to attending careers events, we engage with local schools to support students coming into the design office for a work experience placement.  On these work placements we educate students about our role as civil & structural engineers in the wider construction process.  A dedicated member of the team is assigned to mentor the student for the day.  Work placement students are educated on other roles within construction so in the event they don’t choose to pursue engineering, they retain an interest in
working within the industry.

Portland Blog


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