Many congratulations to our apprentice, Isabella Falconer, who has secured her Level 3 Diploma with a Distinction.

Isabella, PCSG’s first formal apprentice, has experienced cutting-edge technology, enjoyed first-hand experience of our work on major infrastructure projects and deepened her understanding of the basics of project management during the scheme. It was administered by City & Guilds accredited firm, Davidson Training.

Isabella joined PCSG following her A-Levels in 2017. She gained her Level 2 Diploma as a Customer Service Practitioner in 2018. Her year-long Level 3 Diploma, in Business Administration, culminated in a 2,000-word project report and an essay reflecting on her research process. She presented her report to the City & Guilds for her assessment in December.

She is delighted with the skills and confidence that completing her diplomas has given her: “I have learnt more than I have done in 18 years of academic education. I know what finances are, I know what a budget is, I know how you forecast using Excel and the different technological tools that we have. It’s real-world application.”

The construction sector is facing well-documented problems around a shortage of the right workplace skills and a lack of workplace diversity. Apprenticeships and ‘earn and learn’ opportunities for school-leavers are regarded as an increasingly important route to tackling these challenges. Next month is National Apprenticeship Week in which success stories like Isabella’s from around England will be celebrated.

For her research project, Isabella examined how PCSG aligns its internal procurement with its sustainability principles, focusing on head office printing and purchasing of office equipment.

One of her first tasks was to assess her training needs against the project requirements. This included training in project management principles and tools. “My prior experience in project management amounted to zero,” she laughs.

She learnt how to use a Gantt chart to set a “critical path” for the project. She also took the lead on creating a series of up-to-date internal communications to inform and educate PCSG staff on sustainable printing and procurement. This includes a set of informative posters now displayed in the head office.

Isabella will remain at PCSG and use her new qualifications in customer service practice and business administration to support her while she pursues her long-held acting ambitions.

“These apprenticeships have helped me gain the knowledge and ability to go into any business and basically any starting role,” she explains. “I’ve got the skills and experience to earn actual money while I go into acting, and without any university debt.”

She adds: “I also know how to make a great poster!”

For more information on Davidson Training, visit: https://findapprenticeshiptraining.apprenticeships.education.gov.uk/provider/10001869/davidson-training-uk-limited