7th February 2024

National Apprenticeship Week – Apprentice Wednesday

As part of National Apprenticeship Week’s ‘Apprentice Wednesday’, we spoke to Olivor Norton, one of our Southend office apprentices, to hear how he’s getting on six months into his Civil Engineering apprenticeship journey.

Olivor Norton - Apprentice Wednesday

Which apprenticeship are you currently enrolled in?

I’m currently working on the Level 6 Civil Engineering apprenticeship, I started the scheme in August 2023 and am thoroughly enjoying it. Alongside getting hands-on experience at Perega, I’m studying at the University of East London, where I’m able to connect the theory to all the practical stuff.

Once I wrap up my degree, I’ll tackle the end-point assessment. If all goes well, I’ll gain Incorporated Engineer (IEng) status at the ICE. This will be a solid step forward, earning trust from both clients and employers in my engineering skills.

What factors influenced your decision to choose an apprenticeship over other educational pathways?

Several factors played into my decision to opt for an apprenticeship over going straight to university, as many of my peers did. One major draw was the chance to gain valuable practical experience alongside academic study. In engineering, this truly sets you apart from the crowd.

Being able to apply what I’m learning to real situations is something I wouldn’t have gained from a traditional classroom setting. Plus, the added perk of earning while I learn and avoiding racking up student debt was another big factor in the decision I made.

During your time in the scheme, have you acquired any unique or unexpected skills?

I’m only six months into the apprenticeship and I’ve already found myself surprised by the wide range of skills I’ve gained along the way. I don’t think I anticipated just how much my problem-solving abilities would grow. From tackling challenges to brainstorming innovative solutions, I’ve honed my critical thinking skills.

Maths has been another area of unexpected growth for me. I’ve found myself diving into complex calculations and equations, applying mathematical principles to various engineering tasks with much more confidence than I had before. Here, I have to give credit to my mentors at Perega for guiding me through the process.

Conversing with clients was something I hadn’t given much thought to at the start, but it’s become a significant part of my role. Learning to effectively convey technical concepts in a way that they can understand has been a bit of a learning curve, but it’s been incredibly rewarding to see my communication skills improve over time.

In what ways does the apprenticeship scheme align with your educational style?

The learning environment an apprenticeship offers lines up perfectly with my educational style in a few ways. Being able to roll up my sleeves and dive into live projects has allowed me to grasp concepts quickly and solidify my understanding; particularly useful on tricky projects!

Can you share any memorable projects you’ve worked on during your apprenticeship that have contributed to your professional development?

I’ve worked on projects nationwide, including complex façade system installations, which have been valuable experiences. A project that stands out is when I was tasked with conducting Mepla deflection calculations.

How do you envisage your future as an engineer?

I’m looking forward to specialising in the restoration of listed buildings. There’s something about their rich history and the intriguing challenges they pose that captivates me.

At Perega we work on a lot of restoration projects. With the engineering world leaning more towards sustainability, I think the skills I’m developing now, including assessing existing structures, feasibility studies, and delivering adaptations and repairs with minimal intervention, will be a solid foundation for brainstorming some fresh, sustainable solutions for future projects.

If you’re interested in our apprenticeship scheme, email