Programme graduate Ben Strickland

Ben Strickland completed the Hanson leadership, education and development (LEAD) higher management apprenticeship in 2015 and is now quarry manager at Sutton Courtenay Quarry and Appleford Rail Depot. He talks about his decision to join the company and the benefits of completing an apprenticeship.

When I finished my studies, I was undecided what to do next. I knew I wanted to join the construction industry because I felt it offered a dynamic, fast-paced environment with the opportunity for a long and successful career.

With these ambitions in mind, I applied for Hanson’s LEAD programme and was delighted to be one of six apprentices accepted for the first intake.

Initially, I worked at Coldstones quarry in Pateley Bridge, North Yorkshire, as a trainee supervisor for about 18 months before spending six months in a similar role at Penmaenmawr quarry in North Wales. The apprenticeship provided me with good training so I was familiar with a lot of the work I was expected to do when I was appointed assistant manager at Shap Beck and although I initially found studying while I was working hard going, the knowledge has been invaluable and I apply it directly in my job.

I have now completed my foundation degree in mineral extraction and am starting a full honours degree, which will take two years to complete. I have also gained additional qualifications in safety, health and environment as well as shot-firing.

The quarrying industry offers excellent career opportunities, both in the UK and abroad. I work closely with my colleagues; we support each other and provide ongoing feedback to help us improve. I get a real buzz from seeing the difference I can make to the business; your ideas are listened to and acted on, and you get to see the important contribution you can make.