“Apprentices bring the latest skills into your business to push it forward.”

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“Apprentices bring the latest skills into your business to push it forward.”

We spoke to Mark Swallow, course leader for the Construction Site Management Degree Apprenticeship, to discover how businesses can benefit from this course. 

What’s your background?

I started my career in construction as a joiner, then I moved into site management. I was in charge of the day-to-day running of construction sites, including health and safety, logistics, traffic management and coordinating trades.

Then I moved into contract management. This meant working on more than one project at a time, dealing with pricing, estimation and contracts.

After many years in the industry I decided I wanted to pass on my experiences and knowledge to help push the industry forward, so I became a lecturer. I teach various modules on the degree apprenticeship.

I’m a member of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) and the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), and I’m currently completing a PhD on the use of virtual reality (VR) in site construction.

How will this course benefit my business?

It’s all about developing people. The role of a site manager needs a range of expertise and experience. This apprenticeship — which is accredited by the CIOB — is designed to develop the learner’s skills, whether they’re just starting out or they have worked in the industry for a long time and want a career in site management.

For a company or organisation, if you have staff on this course they will learn the newest industry processes, standards and technology. They will bring this knowledge back into your business and push it forward.

As the course is an apprenticeship, the employer also has the benefit of using levy funding. And throughout the course we provide a work-based learning coach to work with a member of your staff and help them act as a mentor for the learner on the course. 

What do learners get out of this course?

The combination of practical experience on site and learning at university will give them the skills and qualifications they need to work as a construction site manager. They’ll be learning from industry experts and gaining an understanding of the latest standards and processes in site management.

As well as a CIOB-accredited degree, students take two external training programmes as part of the course — the Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) and the Site Management Environmental Training Scheme (SMETS).

Along with these qualifications, they’ll develop their interpersonal and communication skills, and make contacts with like-minded people in the industry.

What makes this course stand out?

The course offers an insight into the most up-to-date ways of working in the industry. In particular, our modules on building information modelling (BIM) allow our learners to develop their understanding of information management processes and work with the very latest technologies in site management, including 4D modelling and clash detection.

The industry is progressing at a fast rate, particularly around information management. This course will help students take new technology and processes back to their company and make the whole business more efficient.

What facilities do learners have access to on this course?

Learners on the course will have access to our full City Campus, including newly constructed teaching facilities. Our virtual learning environment means you can access learning resources, books and journal articles wherever you are, whether you’re at home or working on site.

You also have access to specialist software packages, and you have the opportunity to use various technologies on campus, such as using VR headsets to plan logistics and traffic management.

What is the return on investment for my business?

The return on investment is clear. What your people learn on the course will feed back into your company, helping you find new ways of working — and reduce project costs, save time, and increase safety.

Our industry is incredibly complex in terms of codes and standards. If you have trained people with current industry knowledge and industry-accredited qualifications, you’ll stand out when bidding for contracts.

Why choose this course?

Here at Sheffield Hallam University, the Department of the Natural and Built Environment has a great reputation, and it's our teaching quality that makes us stand out. We have great links with industry, and our course team is dedicated to pushing boundaries.

As a university we’re known for applying knowledge and theory to the real world of work. That’s what apprentices do on this course.

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