WM Mayor Supports Doocey Pre-Apprenticeship Programme

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street attended Tipton based Doocey Group one of the largest Civil Engineering & Utility companies in the Midlands as they held an Apprentice Showcase ahead of National Apprenticeship Week. The day highlighted Doocey Group’s success on boarding apprentices within the construction industry. 

The dual-purpose event was designed to demonstrate the skills learnt in the first multi utility apprentice cohort. 2022 Graduates completed their Level 2 Highways Maintenance apprenticeship within 15 months graduating December 2023. The event also showcased the apprentices who started September 2023 and are being trained and developed this year. 

To recruit apprentices, Doocey Group has a truly unique pre-apprenticeship approach, which over the past 2 years has unwittingly become a huge success in attracting young people of Sandwell to a fantastic career opportunity creating jobs in the Black Country for young people, school/college leavers and the unemployed. 

Joint Managing Director’s Mark & Steve Doocey explained this approach: 

“As a growing business with established framework contracts, we needed to address the skilled staffing challenges within our industry. Some of our biggest obstacles for growth include an ageing workforce and lack of skilled people coming into the industry. Our Apprenticeship Scheme was set up to ensure training of the required skills, over a realistic period to make them competent and safe within the workplace in conjunction with HSG47. We also implement the ‘Doocey Way’ which is our internal proven safety-based excavation safe system of work and already we can see that the approach is paying dividends for our apprentices. 

Over the past 2 years the Doocey Group’s investment in our pre-apprenticeship initiative has not only seen us appoint 33 apprentices but enabled 192 young people to take part in a three-week pre-apprenticeship scheme. 

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This gave attendees an insight into what the apprenticeship and industry entails; whilst also gaining the following qualifications, National Water Hygiene, CSCS Card, EUSR, Emergency First Aid, Health and Safety. All these qualifications can be used to support the individuals in gaining employment if not selected for the Doocey apprenticeship programme. In 2023 alone there were 116 young people who completed the pre-apprenticeship. This event backed by Andy Street and West Midlands Combined Authority, Sandwell College, Sandwell Council and key industry players will help achieve other openings for the surplus candidates as the appetite to break into construction is evidently there. 

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Andy Street – Mayor of West Midlands said:

“It’s good to see the team at Doocey Group creating opportunities for young people via their pre-apprenticeship programme. They’re equipping local youngsters with the skills they need to succeed – offering a real insight into what an apprenticeship entails within the construction sector. My thanks to Doocey Group for helping to enhance employment prospects for our residents – boosting their futures and that of our regional economy in the months and years ahead.” 

WMCA is committed to working with Doocey Group as part of its Path 2 Apprenticeship Programme in 2024, helping young people access entry into the utilities infrastructure and construction industry. Last year Doocey Group worked collaboratively to secure outcomes for an additional 62 young people with Sandwell Council Skills and Enterprise Team, Sandwell Connexions and Sandwell College in gaining employment, training and, apprenticeships who graduated from the pre-apprenticeship programme.

CEO’s, Directors and Senior personnel attended the event from National Grid, South Staffordshire Water, Onsite, Severn Trent Water, Cadent Gas, Telent, Kier, as well as SMEs from the industry such as Fincher’s, M&J Evans with the hope of us creating a task force to improve and align strategies and opportunities from this pre-apprenticeship social value project. Dave Noakes, Head of Operations for Onsite was able to highlight how they had benefited from the Doocey Group pre-apprenticeship social value project locally: 

Dave Noakes – OnSite Head of Operations said:

“This year OnSite recruited 6 apprentices with the support of Sandwell Council Skills and Enterprise Team, 3 of those had come directly from Doocey Group pre-apprenticeship. Their completion of the 3-week programme certainly gave them the credentials to be front runners for our apprenticeship programme. They had a reference from Doocey Group confirming their attendance and qualifications gained but more importantly we could see the commitment and interest in working in our industry. For us it has been a great collaborative success.”

This showcase event was also attended by 6 schools from the Black Country and Birmingham. 

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One of our biggest challenges as a business and is commonly echoed throughout the Utility Industry is that school and college leavers have no concept of what job and career opportunities are available. The event was constructed to be interactive allowing the students to take part in common utility activities, including connecting pipe together, using equipment to locate electric cables underground, excavating and exposing cables & pipes, marshalling traffic management and spotting safety hazards on a mock site set up. 4 

Our apprenticeship programme has no barriers, and we deliberately ensure it is inclusive to everyone, particularly those who find the traditional classroom environment challenging but they often make for fantastic construction operatives. 

The pre-apprenticeship is only possible with the collaboration of Doocey Group and Sandwell College. Who better to help educate and train young people alongside the College team than the expert team at Doocey Group. 

Lisa Edwards, Head of Apprenticeships for Sandwell College described the collaboration as; 

“This achievement is a testament to the effective collaboration, development, and delivery of our pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programmes. Together with Doocey Group, Sandwell Council, and the support of the West Midlands Combined Authority, we’ve paved the way for successful enrolment in Highways Maintenance Apprenticeships in our local area. 

Our partnership showcases the power of collaboration and collective effort in shaping the future workforce in the construction and civil engineering industry. Supporting the utilisation of the Levy transfer, we’re proud to support SMEs in upskilling learners with in-demand skills.” 

The event is a precursor to our main open day in April and we would be keen for anyone interested in joining the 2024 intake to get in touch to find out more about the available opportunities, For any further information on this project, the pre-apprenticeship, our apprenticeship programme and joining forces please email futures@dooceygroup.co.uk