Collinson Construction champions degree apprenticeships

Part-time degrees and degree apprenticeships are a valuable tool for businesses to upskill staff and in the case of Collinson Construction helped build their knowledge base in their area of expertise. Working successfully with the University of Central Lancashire it has provided them with the confidence that their staff are skilled and competent to undertake their specific roles.

With its head office in Garstang, family-owned Collinson was established in 1962 with the construction division starting around 20 years ago. Collinson Construction predominantly design and construct sports hall buildings for the sports and leisure sector with a recent move into modular construction. The business is continually diversifying, also working on projects in the education, industrial and commercial sectors. Architectural design team manager Tim Potter sees the benefit in employees taking up Degree Apprenticeships and part-time study:

“Having degree apprenticeships gives us an intrinsic link to the university, to have a current and up to date understanding of the content taught on Architectural Technology (AT) allows us to keep up and have an understanding of the latest industry trends. It upskills our staff in the relevant areas of the profession allowing us to tailor our resource strategy to ensure we are joined up with the university to give the student a strong skill set.”

Tim goes further adding: “It grows our staff in confidence and provides a knowledge base, giving them the valued education required in the field of AT that can then be filtered through in the field to service our clients professionally and successfully.”

Employee James Swarbrick previously worked in the CAD/CAM team before his new role in the architectural design team. The company supported him through his studies which helped facilitate his move to the new role. Productivity has increased as James picked up more skills and more of an understanding of the industry and the subject of AT, his output speed and quality increased subsequently improving the offering of services to clients.

James can also see the value a degree can bring, adding: “I first discovered the Architectural Technology programme at the University of Central Lancashire whilst studying a HNC at Preston College. It was recommended to me by my tutor. He told me that successful completion of the HNC course would allow me to gain access to the third year of the AT part-time degree course. At the time I began my study at the University I was employed as a CAD Technician. Collinson promoted me into the position of Architectural Technologist within months of starting the course; I feel this was due to the quick personal development the course encouraged.”

James goes further: “I feel my career has gone from strength to strength following the successful completion of the AT Degree course. I started as a CAD technician with little responsibility, and I am now employed as a senior architectural technologist with more responsibility and experience.”

Collinson Construction now has first-hand experience of how degree apprenticeships can align successfully with business goals and staff development. Working with us and utilising the degree apprenticeship course to educate and train a member of the design team has been of significant value to both the business and the individual. They have seen an impressive leap in skill set and knowledge base in the field of AT which has transcended into the workplace. James’ outputs and efforts across all RIBA stages have greatly improved and gone from strength to strength which is reflected in his work and is massively appreciated by their clients.

Architectural design team manager Tim Potter notes: “Having such committed and talented staff has allowed me to move the design team in the right direction and improve our service offering. James’s progression in the business has been substantial and he has recently been promoted to senior architectural technologist to reflect his experience level, knowledge base, performance and overall standing in the team, setting an example at the level of performance staff should aspire to.”

The success of the Degree Apprentice AT Course and subsequent relationship with the University of Central Lancashire is of significant benefit to the business, so much that they are enrolling a second team member onto the course this year.

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