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HLA Student Case Study: Building Information Modelling Project Management

Niall Moore, Level 7 Higher Level Apprentice. Building Information Modelling Project Management, Farrans/Queen’s University Belfast

Niall Moore, HLA Apprentice

“My particular HLA was the Master’s level BIM. I’m currently 2/3 of the way through it on my second year part-time. I was one of three from Farrans to actually start the HLA in 2019. It’s been a very positive experience, obviously challenging, but very positive with plenty of group work. Being able to apply your own experiences to items of course work and vice versa. Bringing experiences learned in the classroom back to your work has been one of the biggest advantages for me.

With the vast amounts of guest lecturers that you have on this particular course, for example, is invaluable.  

People bring experiences from all walks of life into the classroom… People that work in construction law, specialist BIM consultancies…the list goes on. So real life experience has been bought brought onto the classroom also.

The flexibility and the support from staff on the HLA scheme is second to none. The lines of communication are very clear and it’s never an issue to get hold of somebody when you need them. So, it’s a very hands-on approach from the staff at Queen’s. Also, you get very rewarding feedback on your assignments, especially when it’s on an interesting that’s related to your day to day work. I find that very, very rewarding too.

I’m on a path to progression within the organisation and hopefully that can continue once I finish.”

Find out more about Higher Level Apprenticeships at Queen’s

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HLA Employer Case Study: Farrans

Cara Hanna, Training Advisor at Farrans

Cara Hanna, Farrans

“I am a training advisor at Farrans, so I would be responsible for looking after our apprentices, placements and graduates. We are a civil engineering and building organisation, head office inNorthern Ireland, but we’re located across the UK and Ireland. We operate in all sectors of the construction industry, delivering a wide range of projects.

In relation to our apprenticeship story, up until 2016, entry into Farrans was placement or graduate. Other than that, it was experienced hire.

As you are probably aware, the construction industry has been dealing with a skill shortage for a number of years now.

So in 2016, we came together with other like-minded organisations, colleges and universities and the ICE and we developed WorkPlus.  

WorkPlus is an organisation that brings employers together in Northern Ireland and it offers apprenticeships at all levels in over 150 disciplines. 

At Farans, we offer our Higher Level Apprenticeships starting at level 5, which is foundation level, level 6 degree and level 7 Master’s in Construction Management, Civil Engineering and Quantity Surveying as well as that the Building Information Modelling Project Management (BIM) Master’s course at Queen’s. 

Apprenticeships have opened a whole new talent stream for Farrans. We are now able to attract employees into various roles, including engineering, estimating, programme planning and many others. 

At Farrans, we have seen our apprentices develop at a fast pace. 

Some of our apprentices in the business have more than three or four years’ experience, even though they haven’t got their degree yet. Some of our apprentices are operating at a site engineer level, yet they are still yet to complete their degree. 

We try not to class them as an apprentice, but by the role that they’re doing and experience that they’ve gained. 

The benefits for students that we have seen – this generation said they wanted more options, more choices and with apprenticeships we can offer that now. 

It’s no longer one route to gaining that degree or Master’s, there’s many more options and many benefits. 

Apprentices are able to put into place what they learn in real time.

They’re learning from experienced staff and they’re building that successful career path. 

The big selling point that we see whenever we’re talking to parents, careers teachers and young people is that you earn while you learn and the students have no debt.

Apprentices are important to Farrans because they not only give us a vibrant talent stream but they also give us the opportunity to shape, nurture and support the apprentices on their journey from the very start. We believe that everybody deserves an opportunity and we understand that not everybody learns in the same way. Being able to offer many apprenticeships is a great opportunity.”

Find out more about Higher Level Apprenticeships at Queen’s