Five minutes: Charlie Weatherhogg, HR Director - UK&I, Continental Europe and Africa, at AECOM

Five minutes: Charlie Weatherhogg, HR Director - UK&I, Continental Europe and Africa, at AECOM

Charlie Weatherhogg, HR Director – UK&I, Continental Europe and Africa at AECOM, discusses what AECOM is doing for apprentices and graduates. 

What does AECOM offer for apprentices and graduates?

AECOM has invested in graduate and apprentice opportunities for many years – many other companies switched off such talent pipelines during the recession, which, whilst understandable, was a short sighted strategy, as this population is the pipeline to develop into organisational gaps in the future. 

Graduates are taken through a development programme that runs alongside professional accreditations that they will be pursuing, providing a mix of behavioural and technical training. Training is delivered in-house, so tends to be more closely tailored for application in work, as the trainer is a subject matter expert in their own right.

Apprentices tend to follow externally led courses, and are supported at work with the coursework required. In both talent programmes, individuals work on real projects and in real roles, with on the job support and supervision.

We look to utilise our global presence to offer those high performers that are interested the chance to undertake international rotations. International experience is so important as we move towards a global economy - especially for UK based employees, who may be slightly more remote from the cultural diversity that Continental Europe provides.  

What are the issues you face at the moment?

I see both intakes as complimentary to our talent strategy – with the introduction of increasing university fees, there is a risk that the intake is less representative of the mix of society, as some won’t be prepared to take on the debt.

I therefore think the apprentice route has the potential to balance this, plus it will have less gender filtering that STEM courses create. I think there is still work to be done for people to fully appreciate the opportunity apprenticeships offer – there may still be an old fashioned view associated with apprentices, but that will change over time.

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