Progression and Retention with a Large Employer: the case of Galliford Try

The employer

Galliford Try is a leading construction group, carrying out building and infrastructure works for public and private sector clients across the UK. It has 3,900 employees (June 2023), with 6.3% of them in graduate, apprentice or trainee roles.

The Building West Midlands and South West team has provided onsite visits and work experience opportunities for students at Thomas Telford University Technical College since 2013 and is a member of the UTC’s employer group. The team hosted its first T Level student on an industry placement in 2022 and another student starts a placement in 2024. 

The student

Elliot studied the Design, Surveying and Planning for Construction at Thomas Telford University Technical College. During his industry placement with the Building West Midlands and South West team, he worked on several projects including the award-winning transport interchange in the Perry Barr area of Birmingham. 

Having completed his T Level, Elliot is now continuing his journey with Galliford Try as an apprentice while studying towards a degree apprenticeship at Birmingham City University.


Recruiting the student



The placement

Elliot’s placement lasted 450 hours, well above the minimum requirement of 315 hours. Most of the time was spent at the Perry Bar transport interchange, where he became a full member of the team doing real work activities. 

The placement gave Elliot first-hand exposure to a wide range of construction experiences, from sitting in on senior meetings to handling documents and drawings and working with supply chain partners on site. It was carefully designed to include all the disciplines involved in site management, which meant that Elliot could gradually clarify where his interests in construction could take him as a career.

As well as being supported by a mentor onsite, Elliot acted as a mentor himself, helping an apprentice to learn about an aspect of site management which he had studied on his T Level course. 

”Elliot gained massively in confidence, social and communication skills through dealing with people at all levels in the company. His personality emerged as he became part of the team.

“It was a pleasure for us to have such a delightful student take part in our first T Level placement, which gave him an opportunity to experience a work environment for the first time.”

Dawn Jevons, Regional Community & Social Impact Manager

Progression pathway

After finishing his T Level, the process of taking on Elliot as an employee followed the normal recruitment process apart from an interview, which was deemed unnecessary given how well the team already knew him from the industry placement. The vacancy he applied for would normally have been filled by a recent graduate, but the Building West Midlands and South West team sees great benefit in employing home-grown talent through the T Level route.

Elliot has started his degree apprenticeship as a trainee quantity surveyor, although he intends to convert to a site manager later on. During his apprenticeship he is being placed in different projects giving him relevant experience and the opportunity to apply his newly-gained knowledge. 

"With Galliford Try's support during my T Level course, I have been able to move forward in my career as I begin my apprenticeship. I am excited about this fantastic opportunity and look forward to expanding my knowledge in the industry."

Elliot Sena, T Level student and apprentice



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