Q&A with Arcadis construction apprentice Carys Marsh


Developing a skilled, productive workforce is fundamental to the Northern Powerhouse. According to recent Government data, apprenticeship numbers are now returning to pre-pandemic levels – which is good news for the economy and levelling up.

The biggest drop in apprenticeship levels during the pandemic had been in the North. Fortunately, Northern businesses have risen to the challenge of tackling that problem, delivering skills opportunities both for those just starting out in their career or those looking to retrain. 

There were 41,300 new apprentices in the North of England between 2021 and 2022, a 44% increase from the previous year. The biggest increase in the country was in the North East, which saw a rise of about 58%.

We spoke to Carys Marsh, Assistant Cost Consultant at Arcadis, about apprenticeships and what they mean for opportunities for young people in the north.

Why do you think more young people are choosing apprenticeships?

I think more young people are choosing apprenticeships as they are becoming more widely recognised by colleges and more companies are offering degree apprenticeships in a variety of disciplines. With graduate roles becoming increasingly competitive, the apprenticeship route also gives vital experience in industry as an advantage over the traditional full time university route.

Initially, I went through the process of applying for universities and it was the sandwich degrees with a year in industry that really appealed to me. While reading into the companies that sponsored some of these degrees, I came across degree apprenticeships and loved the idea of working and earning whilst learning.

I’d really recommend the apprenticeship route because, for me, the support with my degree was invaluable and it has given me a great start to my career.

What skills have you learnt?

I have learnt quantity surveying specific skills such as measurement and estimating, as well as soft skills like communication with clients, teamwork, and time management. The best thing I’ve gained through the apprenticeship is confidence, which has come from the support and encouragement of the team in my development. 

What projects are you working on?

Most of my work is on high-rise residential developments in central Manchester, as well as student accommodation schemes and office fit outs. I have also worked on some more unusual projects like the new training facility for Liverpool Football Club.

What are your plans for the future?

My short-term goal is to sit my APC to gain chartership. I love living and working in the North, and whilst I wouldn’t rule out job opportunities elsewhere in the UK or abroad, I am happy here and believe there are ample opportunities to fulfil my ambitions. It is rewarding to work on schemes which bring investment to the North and there will be lots more in the future which is really exciting for me.

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