Inspiring Business by Sharing Success


FROM working in a small bistro in Wolverhampton to learning about the construction industry from the ground up – Nadia Reznik has noticed the benefits of becoming an apprentice at one of the UK’s top mechanical and electrical engineering (M&E) consultancies and is now learning the basics of computer-aided design (CAD).

The 18-year-old joined Building Services Design (BSD) as an office junior last year. Since then, Nadia has become a much-needed extra pair of hands at the firm’s Birmingham office, based in Fort Dunlop.

As the 11th National Apprenticeship Week (5-9 March) – which aims to encourage more people to choose apprenticeships as a pathway to a great career – gets underway, Nadia has spoken of the benefits of learning on the job. 

Nadia, of Wolverhampton, said:

“Working at BSD is my first full-time job – before then I’d spent two years working in a small bistro waiting on tables and doing bar work so, as you can imagine, working nine till five in an office was very different to pulling pints and it took some time for me to adapt to a new style of work.

“After finishing school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do career-wise and the idea of apprenticeships wasn’t something I was familiar with but I spoke to a family member who was aware of BSD’s apprenticeship and recommended the company to me. Now, I’d recommend this route to anyone. Instead of being stuck in a classroom, you’re learning on the job and you get to experience the ‘real world of work’ first hand.”

Nadia agreed to continue working at BSD after her 12-month placement and is now hoping to undertake apprenticeship training in business administration with the firm.

She said:

“My time at BSD so far has been wonderful. Everyone has been so positive and supportive and I’ve really enjoyed learning new skills as well as about the world of M&E as I’m surrounded by very knowledgeable engineers.

“The engineers are slowly introducing me to the world of CAD so I’m understanding why it’s used and its purpose. It allows me to assist engineers with basic tasks, which are very important, but incredibly time consuming. I like taking stuff off their hands.”

At the end of 2016, data from the Office for National Statistics revealed women formed just 12.8% of the construction workforce – only 0.7% more than in 2007, just before the recession.

Since then, BSD – which has had a Birmingham office for 10 years, with 80 employees across its seven UK offices – has been keen to encourage more women into the construction industry.

Nadia said:

“I’d never worked in engineering or construction and it wasn’t something I’d even considered before but it seemed intriguing and I wanted to challenge myself. Typically, the industry is very male-orientated but I believe this is gradually changing after years of societal stereotyping.”

During her time at the company, Nadia has been mentored by Jo Jones, who became the first woman at BSD to take on the associate director role.

Jo, who joined BSD in 2008 as a CAD technician and office administrator, said:

“I wanted to bring someone in who was completely new to the industry. We interviewed quite a few people and I was really impressed with Nadia – she was completely professional, organised and uniform; exactly what this office needed.

“I am so proud of how far Nadia has come. It must have been quite daunting for an 18-year-old to come into an office full of men but we’re a really friendly and supportive team and she quickly stepped up to the plate and now she has quickly become part of the furniture.

“We have taken someone who had no previous experience in the construction industry and turned them into a real asset to the company. Apprenticeships benefit everyone involved – not only has Nadia learnt new skills and has experience to put on her CV, but I’ve been able to really mentor someone and shape them into the working professional we need at this business.”

The theme of the year’s National Apprenticeship Week is designed to showcase how apprenticeships work for individuals, businesses, communities and the wider economy.

Sue Husband, director at National Apprenticeships Service, said:

 “Apprenticeships offer real career opportunities and National Apprenticeship Week 2018 will showcase how apprenticeships work across all industries, sectors and job roles, from school leaving age to older apprentices.

“There’s no better way to mark apprenticeship achievement than by the apprenticeship community coming together and shouting loudly about the difference apprenticeships are making.”

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