When a young person joins as an apprentice at a British company, how far can they expect their careers to go? At TClarke plc, the majority of divisional directors and the executive board started here as apprentices. Even at the best regarded employers it is remarkable when even one or two people can say the same thing.
TClarke’s ability to delivery for clients has always depended on a unique commitment between the business and its people. That commitment expresses itself in quality standards, in a determination to get the job done, whatever the circumstances, in a constant focus and investment in safety, in apprenticeships and in real jobs.
Barrie Nightingale started as an apprentice in 1984. Now he is a Director of the company and he has personally designed and driven the formation of the TClarke Training Academy. He introduces the mission and values of the Academy:
When we invest in something, we aim to do that the right way. The TClarke Training Academy is something I’m personally passionate about and have spent a lot of time working with colleagues to get right.
Reflecting the unique commitment between TClarke and its people
The overall purpose of the Academy is to attract and retain the best people and to give everyone at TClarke substantive opportunities to develop their careers with us.
We already have one of the best technical apprenticeship schemes around, the Academy presents a range of training, mentoring and education opportunities that have been developed specifically for each of the professional areas in which we’re involved - from construction engineering, design and QA to admin, estimating and Intelligent Buildings. All in all, we want to give everyone the support to develop their careers fully.
Clear routes ahead that give everyone a real chance to progress
A key part of the Academy design has been to set out clear career paths showing the skills and expertise you need to progress from junior to senior roles in each area of professional specialism, with defined levels of competence at each stage.
These routes ahead are for everybody - whether you take professional qualifications to the highest level, or want to develop a hands-on career, or want to switch. The basic idea is that the academy helps you move ahead and provides the complete package of support you need.
Work Placement Modules embed the ‘TClarke Way’ of doing each job
Work Placement Modules within the TClarke Academy give our trainees significant experience of all aspects of the TClarke processes relevant to their chosen career pathway. This means attending a range of project and technical meetings, getting opportunities to chair meetings, producing minutes, creating action lists and listening and presenting on technical subjects.
It also includes assisting in project costing and estimates to achieve cost awareness from an early stage, visiting suppliers factories, construction projects or occupied buildings and also temporary placements at partnering consultants, PQS and main contractors.
Investment by the company and by the trainees in these modules is a very significant commitment both ways - it involves a lot of time and organisation. But this is one key way in which the right culture - the ‘TClarke Way’ gets embedded in people from the beginning. It is also a great way to educate people in the real world approaches and insights and collaboration across specialisms which gives TClarke its edge.
We’re embarking on a business wide mentoring system
As part of their development programme, each trainee will be assigned a mentor to offer them ongoing support in all aspects of career development at TClarke. This is about helping integrate a trainee into the team and culture, building confidence, adding knowledge and advice and helping to solve problems. The mentoring process also builds in a continual appraisal process with regular structured reviews and appraisals.
The 2017 programme of ‘master class’ modules is led by senior people
When you look at the programme for 2017 you can see how senior people across the business are committing their time and energies into the design and delivery of Modules. I think that this is a great signal that the business is committed. In many ways these are master classes, delivered by people who’ve been responsible for delivery of their components within some of the greatest construction challenges of recent times.