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Troup Bywaters & Anders Apprenticeship scheme

Troup Bywaters & Anders are a partnership of consulting building services engineers with eight offices nationwide, employing 210 staff. A key business objective has always been to make a positive difference by giving young people opportunities in professional engineering.


What we did.

  • We have always invested in young people but in 2012 decided to formally introduce an apprenticeship scheme with a 5-year plan
  • Our apprenticeship scheme is allowing us to grow our own talent and create leaders of the future
  • We also saw the apprenticeship scheme as a route to attract more females to the industry and to encourage girls to consider engineering as a career of choice
  • Our 5-year plan involves:
  1. Have apprentices make up 10% of our workforce
  2. Reduce recruitment agency fees by 30%
  3. Increase regional coverage
  4. Increase female apprentice ratio by 50%
  5. Use the IiP (Investors in People) framework as a vehicle to develop our apprentices.
  • This would ultimately help us achieve our target to have 30% of our workforce female by 2020
  • We set all of our apprentices a target to contact their previous schools and/or colleges to deliver careers talks and hold workshops with young people to talk about the benefits of the apprenticeship route and a career in engineering
  • Our female apprentices in particular are key to help change the view that ‘engineering is just for boys’
  • Last year we increased our effort in the area by 40% and have seen the benefits this year with a higher calibre of candidates applying to our scheme
  • Activities our apprentices have attended to promote apprenticeship in engineering include:
  1. Speaking at the House of Commons on an employer funded study
  2. Speaking at the CIPD People Management Conference on the business benefits of apprenticeships
  3. Speaking at the Hospital Innovations Conference to help the NHS understand the benefits of apprenticeships
  4. Speaking at the London Technician Apprenticeship Consortium Induction to share experiences of being an apprentice engineer
  5. Attendance at nationwide careers events at schools and colleges.

What we learned.

Our first female apprentice joined TB+A in 2012 and since then, through ambassadorial work, we have increased our female apprentice intake to 20%.

This, in turn, has positively influenced the number of females within our total workforce, currently at 18%. 21% of our workforce is made up of apprentices, more than doubling our target.

The Apprentice Programme contributes to an 80% reduction in recruitment fees at technician level.

We opened a new office in Glasgow meeting regional growth objectives.

Our female apprentice ratio doubled to 20%, and we are on target to have 30% total workforce by 2020 (currently 18.5%).

We have an increase in underrepresented groups, with 30% of apprentices from non-white ethnic backgrounds, increasing our overall workforce demographic to 16%.

We have received national recognition, attracting people to our business and inspiring our people to develop their roles. In 2016 we won:

  • National Apprenticeship Medium Employer of the Year
  • Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer
  • Construction Investing in Talent Best Apprenticeship Scheme
  • CIPD People Management Best Apprenticeship Scheme.

And we are awaiting finalist awards ceremonies in 2017 for:

  • Best Training Initiative ACE Awards
  • Apprentice of the Year ACE Awards
  • People Award Construction Excellence Wales Awards.

In 2015, Caitlin Stuart won WISE Apprentice of the Year.

  • Apprentices are integrated within experienced teams
  • By doing this, TP+A are tapping into a long-standing tradition, where the generation above encourages and supports those that are up and coming, and apprentices mentor those coming through
  • All staff have a part to play in our multi-tiered mentoring scheme. Some key examples are:
  1. A structured induction
  2. Fortnightly NVQ workshops, undertaken by our 2nd tier apprentices
  3. Tutorials by partners applying theoretical knowledge to practical work
  4. Attendance at CPDs to widen technical understanding
  5. Training logs to measure their understanding of engineering design, overseen by mentors
  6. 6-monthly performance reviews to monitor achievements and areas for development
  7. College progress and performance assessments.
  • To maximise the retention and potential of our apprentices, an owner of the business has direct responsibility for apprentices helping them get used to the work environment and encourage dialogue at the highest level.
  • As each new intake arrives each year, they are mentored by the year 2 apprentices. This helps our year 2 apprentices develop strong leadership skills.
  • TP+A feel this is important as apprentices coming in to the business have a big transition from the school environment to the workplace. Having a mentor that is aligned and has gone through the process is invaluable to our new intake.

Since embedding our programme, we have achieved:

  • 81% apprentice retention rate with 100% moving on to further education.
  • 100% academic success rate, with all completing level 3 a year early.
  • Our scheme is an important differentiator directly leading to winning projects in the marketplace.
  • The scheme lowers the average salary of our people, further increasing competitiveness.

What we would do differently as a result.

Since starting our scheme we now offer apprenticeships nationally, underpinning our sustainable national business model.

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