University is not the only way!

20 Aug 19

University is not the only way!

At 16 years old, when Jack Holsman was considering what career path to follow, he recognised that ‘A’ levels and traditional university full-time academic study were not for him.

“I work better and more effectively through practical application and I learn by physically doing/practicing something rather than learning theory all the time,” states Jack. “So, when I was offered the opportunity to complete a level 3 civil engineering apprenticeship which included both an NVQ and BTEC diploma (the equivalent of 2 ‘A’ levels) with Clarkebond, it seemed like the ideal way to have a good career path without being in full-time education.”

Jack started working for multidisciplinary engineering consultancy, Clarkebond, in 2015 as a level 3 civil engineering apprentice. Following the successful completion of both the level 3 apprenticeship and level 4 HNC, Jack was offered a civil and environmental engineering apprenticeship, studying for a BEng degree with the University of the West of England (UWE) and with the ultimate objective of gaining ICE Incorporated Engineer (IEng) status.

Following qualification, Jack’s ambition is to work towards Chartered Engineer, CEng, status and progress to more senior roles at Clarkebond.

“I will qualify, all being well, in summer 2021. Whilst this route takes longer, I feel I get more out of both my experience and institution-based learning than I would have if I had done it the more traditional route through A Levels etc.

My studies, alongside working, have provided me with a sound knowledge base from which I have been able to develop within my role at Clarkebond. Clarkebond have supported me fully through all my training, both in terms of allowing me time away from the office to complete my studies but also with providing course funding.”

Would Jack recommend this route to other would-be engineers?

“Yes, 100%. I think it is a perfect route for someone who has passion for engineering, but less so for pure education. You have the opportunity to learn on the job, to work alongside experienced colleagues in the field to obtain practical skills whilst also working towards a recognised qualification. Apprenticeships also allow you to earn while you learn!”

Clarkebond’s HR Manager, Jennifer Jordan, is keen to encourage others to consider apprenticeships as a route into engineering. “We have had a very positive experience with the apprentices we have taken on and are always keen to hear from people who are interested in becoming qualified. Whilst our apprentices must have minimum qualifications in Maths and English, what we really look for is a passion and interest in engineering and a desire to learn.”

If you would like to know more about an apprenticeship with Clarkebond, please email  For more information about working for Clarkebond, click here.