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Young highways graduates and apprentices hit the ground running

Meet the fresh-faced recruits who have hit the ground running in St Helens Borough Council's Highways and Infrastructure department.

Place service apprentices and graduates

Article date: 23 January 2024

A mixture of graduates, apprentices and recently finished work experience students, the group have come in for high praise for their work in the ongoing delivery of a number of strategic projects around active travel, walking and cycling provision, as well as highway maintenance and improvement programmes.  

Made possible from a four-year Highways Capital Programme, approved by St Helens Council's Cabinet in April last year to improve the local road network and transport connectivity across the borough, a portion of funding has been used to strengthen internal delivery teams - leading to the creation of two new civil engineering technician apprenticeships and three new graduate engineer posts.  

Chloe Page joined the council in 2020 as an apprentice in the Highways Management department and her development, determination and ambition continues to impress management, so much so that she fought off strong competition to be named 'Rising Star' at an all-authority staff awards ceremony last year.  

Chloe, 20, who is supported to undertake further professional and academic qualifications to expand her skill set in a service department which offers career progression to grow and retain our workforce, said:   

"I have really enjoyed working at St Helens Borough Council for the past three-years as I have gained invaluable experience and confidence working in an office environment while gaining several qualifications. My day-to-day role consists of co-ordinating the road markings and surface treatments in the borough, processing applications for Temporary Traffic Regulation Orders and making sure that all traffic signals are operational.  

"As I have grown up around St Helens, I find it rewarding when I complete a project and see that it is making a difference in local communities. I believe it is important that young people are given opportunities for professional development like I have as the younger staff will be a part of the team for years to come." 

Councillor Seve Gomez-Aspron, Deputy Leader of St Helens Borough Council and Cabinet Member for Strategic Transport, along with Cabinet Member for Economy, Skills and Business, Councillor Kate Groucutt, were among those to pass on their praise after meeting the group at St Helens Town Hall.  

Councillor Gomez-Aspron said: "With so much going on across the borough in the way of highway and infrastructure improvements right now - which in turn supports our ambitious regeneration and development plans like Parkside for instance - it's great to see local young people being given the trust and responsibility to play an important part in these works which I'm sure they'll look back on with pride when passing by once finished and say 'I helped to deliver that.' This is exactly what we said we'd do: create local jobs through our regeneration projects. 

"Our highways network is an important asset of the council's which we invest time, effort and money in every year to ensure that the adequate improvements are in place so roads can be in the best condition possible with the resources available to us - a crucial aspect of resource being our staff who make this possible, so I'm delighted to see the team grow with the addition of these talented young people who themselves have proven to be valuable assets to the council."  

"Councillor Groucutt added: "As a council, social value is right at the very heart of everything we do and want to achieve - a big focus being on keeping money in the local economy, whether it's through awarding contracts to borough-based suppliers or providing opportunities to residents, like the employment prospects that have come out of this.  

"For young people fresh out of education, knowing where to start when it comes to finding the right career can often be daunting, but apprenticeships and graduate posts are a useful way in to set yourself up for an exciting and promising future which we look to encourage and accommodate as much as we can as we look to achieve one of our main borough priorities of supporting a strong, thriving inclusive and well-connected economy."