Case studies

From Cadet to Apprentice - Chloe from Jacobs

Jacobs is a major employer in Cumbria, so Chloe Pascoe from Egremont was delighted when she heard that she had won a workplace experience placement with Jacobs through the local “Dream Placement” programme. Chloe had qualified for the Jacobs Workplace Experience programme at the company’s nuclear centre of excellence on Westlakes Science and Technology Park in West Cumbria.

The Jacobs Work Experience Programme has been accredited at Industrial Cadet Silver level, an accolade which is based on the assessment of skills and competencies that can be acquired by the participants and a requirement for a positive attitude throughout the necessary 30 hours of workplace experience. The Jacobs Work Experience Programme takes place over a week and is divided into half days with some of the activities delivered by Jacobs’ recent graduates and apprentices. Students handle a range of activities across disciplines such as mechanical, civil and process engineering and compile a file of evidence over the week which culminates in the presentation of project work to an audience.

Chloe explains how the programme works, “During the week we had days dedicated to each discipline, therefore having more of an insight to what each department had to offer, following up with a group activity and individual work. At the end of the week we presented our findings/what we had learnt in the week to a group of Engineers at Jacobs, enabling me to develop my presentation skills in front of an audience. This was a great way to end the week as we had the opportunity to ask Engineers in the Industry any questions we had, as well as gaining feedback on how our presentation could be improved.  The programme is also useful in helping you gauge what careers you would be less keen to pursue and what is not suited to your interests, so you make more informed choices in the future. The Dream Placement and Industrial Cadets gave me the experience and knowledge to be in the position I am today, a Project Controls Apprentice for Jacobs.”

The placement helps students clarify in their own minds the type of role they would like to take on in a company like Jacobs. Chloe explains the thought processes she went through. 

“Firstly, the placement gave me a great understanding for what the company does on a day-to-day basis, as well as informing me about what all the different disciplines had to offer. Initially when I started the placement I had in my head I wanted to become a ‘Project Manager’, by going down the Project Management apprenticeship route. However, as the week progressed it seemed that ‘Project Controls’ was more appealing to me and more on the lines of the career path I wanted to take.”

Chloe continues, “Without Jacobs work placement programme in West Cumbria, which is accredited by Industrial Cadets, I doubt I’d be sat at the desk I am today; currently working on existing and upcoming projects in the Nuclear Industry. I am gaining hands on experience as well as completing my Technical Certificate, and NVQ Level 3 in Project Controls. Jacobs offers many different apprenticeships; so the work experience week really helps students to make a decision as to what career path they would like to take. The placement gave me this opportunity: after completing my first year of Sixth Form with my AS levels, I decided to apply for the Project Controls apprenticeship with Jacobs. I feel that my Industrial Cadets award and experience from the placement week helped me get this position. Moreover, after completing my NVQ Level 3, I wish to achieve a Foundation Degree in Project Controls, which hopefully will lead to going on to completing my Masters. During my time here I have also taken on the role of the “Work Experience Coordinator”. As I went through the placement week myself, I felt this was a good role to take on as I know how I can help the students and improve the activity programme.”

Tom Pritt, Sector Engineering Manager at Jacobs has been a key figure in developing Jacob’s Industrial Cadet activity in Cumbria. He has been delighted at the way that the accreditation has enhanced the value of the existing Jacobs Workplace Experience programme. He says, “At Jacobs we have established a number of socio economic activities specifically designed to firstly inspire the next generation of engineers, then to inform them with activities such as work experience and, finally, to develop them when they join the company.  The results so far have been extremely encouraging and have resulted in approximately 65% of last year’s apprentice intake in Cumbria coming through our work experience programme.  Chloe’s efforts this year have also resulted in further development of the scheme with increased numbers of students being able to be accommodated.”

Jacobs Vice President, Aerospace & Technology, Pete Lutwyche explains Jacobs’ commitment to the Industrial Cadet Workplace Experience in Cumbria, “We are heavily involved in work with local schools to raise awareness of engineering, construction and related roles and encourage students to pursue challenging and rewarding careers in the local nuclear industry. We believe this, combined with the provision of high value jobs will encourage young people to stay in Cumbria on a permanent basis and grow their capability.”

Altogether Industrial Cadets makes a useful addition to the efforts of Jacobs to raise the numbers of people engaging with engineering, construction and related technical careers and so help close the anticipated engineering skills gap. As a global operation Jacobs has operations in over 230 locations in 35 countries and employs around 54,000 people. In the UK Jacobs works on projects across sectors such as power, nuclear, oil and gas, refining, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, defence, building, as well as major infrastructure projects in water, rail, aviation and roads. Jacobs employs some of the UK’s most experienced technical professional services practitioners; having grown to over 7,000 people at 35 locations across the UK. Demonstrating its commitment to future skills the company has more than 900 Graduates, Technicians and Apprenticeships currently training in the UK.

Jane Campbell, Area Employee Engagement Manager for Industrial Cadets in the North West of England says, “Jacobs is an excellent example of a company that is actively investing in future skills in engineering. Industrial Cadets has enabled the company to accredit its workplace experience programme in West Cumbria to a nationally recognised standard and their activities have enabled the company to engage with talented young people like Chloe and to draw them into the talent pipeline, arrangements that employers like Jacobs develop to ensure they have high quality recruits into the future.”