To Uni For Construction Degrees

The government subsidised Degree Apprenticeship schemes are proving popular with one of the region’s leading consulting civil and structural engineers.   Louis Cornell who started with Romsey based WFBA 2 years ago as a Trainee Technician, has spent one day a week with Solent University to gain a HNC with distinction for Civil Engineering and will now also start a 4 year University Degree Apprenticeship at Portsmouth.  He will be joined by Civil Technicians Sam Wicks and John Comer, who have been part of the Civil Engineering team for 4 years and all aiming to become Chartered Engineers. 

 WFBA Directors Nick Groves and Steve Hollick, welcomed Omar Lakhssassi the Business Development Executive for Degree Apprenticeships at the University, to meet the team which included some former Portsmouth University students who are now fully qualified and supporting the successful and expanding £1.60m business that provides essential support to construction projects within a broad range of market sectors which include Commercial, Marine, Residential, Education, Hotel and Leisure, and Refurbishment.

 “We are pleased to help the University of Portsmouth promote the subsidised Degree Apprenticeship schemes that need to be embraced more by the construction industry.  There is now no real excuse to complain about the lack of opportunity to increase the pool of suitably qualified people when businesses are only required to make a 5% contribution or their apprenticeship levy, which is very cost efficient for both employer and the employee who pay no fees,” said Steve Hollick.

 The government currently subsidise 95% of Apprentice course fees for non levy payers, so companies could sponsor a full degree for as little as £2500 to attend one day a week courses at University of Portsmouth to become chartered engineers. Omar Lakhssassi recently attended the Southern Construction and Property Breakfast Club to meet leaders in the industry to promote the message.

 “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. 

Any company requiring more information on Degree Apprenticeships can contact omar.lakhssassi@port.ac.uk

 

(front from left) Louis Cornell, Steve Hollick, Omar Lakhssassi, John Comer (Top left) Nick Groves with Sam Wicks.

 
 

Highest Turnover Achieved

Currently reaching their highest recorded turnover to date (exceeding £1.60m) with a fantastic range of construction projects to work on, Nick Groves, one of the founding directors of Romsey based WFBA consulting civil and structural engineers, expects the construction industry to remain buoyant in the south once the reality of Brexit and the implications are known.  He is confident that most of the projects delayed by some investors will be given the green light for construction once positivity is regained.

 “Our investment in qualified people has continued and we now have our largest team since the business started in 1995, currently numbering 32 with an additional 2  engineers to join next month.  The demand we are facing is from many market sectors including Commercial (office, retail, manufacturing and warehousing) , Residential, Education, Hotel and Leisure, Refurbishment and Marine related projects, and as our capability has expanded so has the scale of the projects we are able to handle.”

 Despite the pressures on available land, WFBA has consulted on more residential projects this year for companies including Bargate Homes, McCarthy and Stone and Travelodge across Southern England, as well as projects for Port and Marine owners, including ABP and MDL. The company also provides independent forensic investigations to determine if mistakes have been made, either during the design or construction phases of a  project when it has become subject to a legal dispute.

 The professional team at WFBA continue to play a major part within the Southern Regional Group of The Institution of Structural Engineers and support the work of Portsmouth University as it encourages apprenticeship degrees within many sectors of the construction industry.

 
Nick Groves, one of the founding directors of Romsey based WFBA consulting civil and structural engineers

Nick Groves, one of the founding directors of Romsey based WFBA consulting civil and structural engineers

 

Latest recruit to the cycle club inducted!

An early morning introduction ride for our latest member of the club, Eddy Byfield.  Eddy is our summer placement student from Portsmouth University and only started on Monday but was keen to join in.  A very small party this morning with Patrick Fisher and Nick Groves taking Eddy around the short induction route.

 

WFBA Cycle Club members (left to right) Nick Groves, Eddy Byfield and Patrick Fisher

 

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@port.ac.uk

 

 

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.