Making Work Work: Hydrock’s Learning Curve Programme
Supporting people at the start of their careers, Hydrock doubled its number of apprentices in 2022 over the previous year, with apprentices joining its dedicated ‘learning curve’ programme.
Hydrock is an engineering design, energy and sustainability consultancy working in the built environment sector.
Hydrock’s purpose is to be a force for good. The company’s impact is shaping places, communities and infrastructure to be climate resilient, sustainable and of value to its users and owners.
New routes into a profession
Routes into the engineering and sustainability sector are well-established.
Traditionally, relevant and related degree courses provide the entry point at graduate level with a range of further chartership qualifications to follow that demonstrate technical excellence and often enable individuals to progress in their careers.
An increased focus on apprenticeships in the sector provides a great opportunity for young people to attain a degree whilst earning a salary and gaining work experience.
The availability of apprenticeships also attracts a more diverse range of people to the sector. Whilst their specific career aspirations are yet to be fully formed, their interests in areas such as data modelling, data analysis, climate change, social value and AI technologies reflect the broader range of skills now required in the sector.
What Hydrock did
In 2022, Hydrock doubled its recruitment of apprentices and had over 30 in the business as a whole.
Hydrock supports apprentices with both funding and day release to pursue a relevant qualification whilst fully embracing them within their client delivery teams, where they are coached and trained to deliver detailed work for clients.
In addition, Hydrock has started a T-level programme, which is similar to A-levels. This is a 45-day work placement spread out over two years where students gain the equivalent of three A-levels. It’s a fantastic opportunity for students to gain hands-on learning in a workplace environment, two days a week, rotating around different engineering disciplines for a varied experience.
Recognising the importance of giving all of these people a fully rounded start to their careers, Hydrock has created a ‘learning curve’ programme to support them with both professional and personal development. Through a series of in-person and webinar events, including sessions hosted by members of the board and the company’s CEO, all early-career staff benefit from interactive learning events focused on commercial business and soft skills.
Working with Business in the Community
Through Hydrock’s membership of Business in the Community (BITC), the company has drawn on BITC’s experience and advice on structuring an effective outreach programme to attract apprentices, in particular those that may not have considered university previously because of financial limitations.
Recognising the importance of reaching a diverse audience, BITC has helped Hydrock to shape its narrative around the breadth of opportunities it offers and the most effective ways to demonstrate how exciting and influential a career in engineering and sustainability can be.
Feedback from the apprentices confirms that they enjoy learning from people around them who have different backgrounds and experiences and that it creates a better understanding of the concepts they engage with in their studies because they can apply what they have seen and delivered in the workplace to this learning.
Impacts and outcomes
- Career opportunities for a diverse group of young people
- Opportunity to shape future leaders at the earliest stage of their professional life
- Valuable business and soft skills coaching for school leavers
- Workplace support for future studies and qualifications for career advancement
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