Degree Apprenticeships Encouraged

The government subsidised Degree Apprenticeship schemes need to be embraced more by the construction industry in the region according to Steve Hollick, the Technical Director of Romsey based consulting civil and structural engineering firm WFBA.  Degree Apprentice schemes are available for a multitude of professions within the industry and only require a 5% contribution from most SME companies, which is very cost efficient for both employer and employee (who pay no fees!).  WFBA are taking the opportunity to support 2 part time degree students from their team this year to attend one day a week courses at University of Portsmouth to become chartered engineers.  Steve Hollick and his fellow directors are also encouraging their industry contacts to discuss the options offered with Omar Lakhssassi, Business Development Executive for Degree Apprenticeships at the University.

 “From our point of view, the incentive to upskill our engineering team is very strong and we are impressed with the syllabus, course content and the high standard of the lecturers we have met at the University,” said Steve Hollick.  “We co-host the Southern Construction and Property Breakfast Club and so actively encourage Omar to meet many of the leading construction industry decision makers to help get the importance of the degree apprenticeships that benefit the industry.”

 Omar Lakhssassi is hoping to raise awareness that the government currently subsidise 95% of Apprentice course fees so companies could sponsor a full degree for as little as £2500.

 “We are committed to giving support to the industry through courses covering Project Management, Quantity Surveying, Architecture and  Civil Engineering.  There should be no excuse not to enhance the skills of the region’s construction industry professionals,” said Omar Lakhssassi.

 WFBA has supported the University’s Architectural Students on a monthly basis with Alastair Craig, who is a Technical Director and also Chairman of the Southern Regional Group of The Institution of Structural Engineers by providing practical advice on design projects.   WFBA also encourages any students interested in a career in Civil Engineering to visit their offices to meet their team of 25 professionals to get a greater understanding of the work involved on projects on a day to day basis.

 Any company requiring more information on Degree Apprenticeships can contact



Omar Lakhssassi with Steve Hollick at the University of Portsmouth


Kirsten Joins Construction team at the Portsmouth Travelodge Site


The high-rise buildings of Portsmouth are soon to be joined by the 12 storey new Travelodge Hotel as preparations are made for it’s its accent into the skyline. Kirsten Glen from Plymouth University, who has just commenced a 1 year placement with the Romsey based consulting civil and structural engineering company WFBA, had the opportunity to visit the site next to Catherine House, the student housing flats on Stanhope Road, where Senior Technician Mark Montaniel and Civil Technician Sam Wicks have been ensuring that the drainage and below ground civil engineering work is fully coordinated  during the early stages of the build to ensure a smooth transition to superstructure construction. 

“The mix of disciplines involved to ensure the contractors can proceed with confidence is vital at this important stage,” said Kirsten Glen, who is studying Civil and Coastal Engineering. 

Working to designs by Maidenhead Architects SKDdesign, WFBA Director Nick Groves says that once opened in the spring of 2019, it will be the 20th hotel project for which the company has provided consultancy services. 

“Since April 2016 we have been looking at design options and assisting with obtaining planning permission, going thorough design development and producing final information for tender and construction.  Our team has used 3D modelling techniques to collaborate with the design and construction team in line with the principles of BIM.  The experience with Travelodge enables us to support the proven formula that works for the successful group, and its team of architects and construction management team,” said Nick Groves. 

WFBA’s Kirsten Glen, Sam Wicks and Mark Montaniel at the Stanhope road site where the new Portsmouth Travelodge will stand.

WFBA’s Kirsten Glen, Sam Wicks and Mark Montaniel at the Stanhope road site where the new Portsmouth Travelodge will stand.


Technical Director Supports Portsmouth Uni Architectural Students

Alastair Craig

Alastair Craig


Romsey based consulting civil and structural engineering firm WFBA has supported Architectural Students at Portsmouth University by lending their Technical Director Alastair Craig to offer practical advice on design project on a monthly basis.  During each visit Alastair has the opportunity to demonstrate the key role structural engineers play in the development of a building and how an architect can make best use of what they can offer.  By spending around 30 minutes with each student helps the young designers consider how to best use a wide choice of building materials available to them to not only make a building project both functional and visually impressive, but also robust and sustainable for the long term future.


“The sessions with the part one and part two students are designed to show the important early input an engineer can offer to a design. It’s an interesting and in my view essential approach to the project based course work as this training will help them to consider and appreciate the many factors that influence  a design to determine what can be achieved and built on a given site;” said Alastair


At WFBA, the busy team of 25 are currently applying their skill and knowledge to a number of major projects for clients including McCarthy & Stone, Travelodge, and Southampton University, as well as wide ranging selection of projects across England for many key Architects. The scale of projects can vary from a £25,000 private home extension to a £35 million commercial development.   WFBA annual turnover now exceeds £1,200,000.


Career Fair Hope For Expanding Romsey Company

Romsey-based consulting civil and structural engineering company WFBA says that by attending the University of Southampton Careers Fair for the first time, they are hopeful that they will be able to recruit the number of graduate engineers and enthusiastic undergraduates for summer placements as the business expand amid a national shortage of skilled people.

“We have already increased our technical team by 7 this year and based on our current and forecast workload will be able to accommodate the same growth in 2017,” said Managing Director Bill Brown who founded the company in 1995 with fellow consultant Nick Groves.

Anyone who joins the £1,000,000 turnover company will not only work with architects and developers within Hampshire but on construction projects throughout the UK.   These range from several new Travelodge Hotels, retirement homes across the south for McCarthy and Stone, small housing developments, complex refurbishments and one-off prestige projects.

“We are very pleased with our expansion across the country and the diverse range of projects are appreciated by our team of experienced professionals.The scale of projects can vary from a £15,000 private home extension to a £30 million commercial development.  We are fortunate to be recommended by existing clients across a diverse range of market sectors which has contributed to the  strong ongoing demand for our consultancy services.”  

The ability to support projects has been greatly influenced by our investment in the latest BIM (Building Information Modelling) software which enables greater collaboration between the design team and their clients.

Our trainee John Comer is just about to embark on the 2nd year of his HNC in Civil Engineering

Our trainee John Comer is just about to embark on the 2nd year of his HNC in Civil Engineering at Southampton Solent University. John joined WFBA after completing his A levels just over a year ago, as he was undecided about embarking on a university degree course. We immediately recognised his potential and encouraged him to embark on the HNC program at SSU with support from WFBA and after successfully completing his first year, John is looking forward to completing the course and moving forward with his career. Keep up the good work John!


Job Offer After Summer Cinema Project

After offering Portsmouth University Student Jamie Harper a much contested Summer Placement, the expanding Romsey based consulting civil and structural engineering company WFBA has offered a full time job to start his career.   Jamie, 25 from Ringwood has had the ambition to become involved with the construction industry from a young age and both an uncle and a grandfather have urged him to consider following in their footsteps as a Civil Engineer.

WFBA Director Nick Groves says that in a short time with the consultancy, Jamie has been involved with a number of projects including the conversion and refurbishment of the Regal Cinema in Fordingbridge designed by local Architects BrightSpace to include a small, thirty seat cinema with a bar and eight, one-bedroom apartments, and retain and restore the art deco structure.

“Jamie, now in his 4th year at University, shows great potential to succeed in our industry so we are delighted that he has accepted our offer and will be welcomed to our team after completing his masters degree,” said Nick Groves.

Jamie Harper with the Fordingbridge Cinema plans.

Jamie Harper with the Fordingbridge Cinema plans.