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Scottish Apprentice Week

Katy builds her career through Graduate Apprenticeship

In her three and a half years as a Graduate Apprentice working in construction, 22-year-old Katy Davies says she’s learned some valuable lessons.

And having just handed over the successful Pert Bruce Construction refurbishment project of a historic golf clubhouse in Montrose, picking up an industry award shortlisting on the way, she is well on the way to her dream job of construction manager.

“I liked the technical subjects at school in Forfar and after getting the opportunity to do work experience at Pert Bruce, I knew the path I wanted to take from third year,” said Katy.

“I had felt I might not have the grades for university – my time at school was cut short by the pandemic lockdown – so I was really pleased when I got my place on the Graduate Apprenticeship course.”


Katy is in her final year of the four-year Graduate Apprenticeship (GA) in Built Environment BSc (Hons) at Robert Gordon University (RGU). The course integrates theory and practice with apprentices employed by a business while studying towards a degree that covers a range of built environment subjects.

“I’m the youngest person on the course and it was a bit intimidating because I only had a basic knowledge of construction and everyone else had experience on the industry,” said Katy.

“But I’m determined and I’ve put in the work. I was delighted when I got my first Pert Bruce project converting flats into disabled student accommodation at the University of Dundee.

“And now I know all sorts of things, like how to build a timber kit. On my most recent project, I drew each elevation for the joiners drawing each element by hand, including where the windows were going and the size of timber between each.”


Katy’s mentor at Pert Bruce Construction is commercial director Brandon Bryant. He’s been really impressed by her progress.

“Katy has really grown in her time here and shown her true character,” he said.

“There are more females choosing construction as a career but with only 16% of women in the UK workforce it’s still a male-dominated industry. Her positive and proactive approach while she has grown in confidence and experience has been great to see and is reflected in her achievements.

Apprenticeships are at the heart of our approach to training the Pert Bruce workforce, traditionally this has been in the core trades, but we see the Graduate Apprentice programme as an excellent route for the next generation of construction managers, allowing them to gain educational and workplace experience in parallel.”

Katy is a huge advocate of the Graduate Apprenticeship route, although she admits it has been hard at times.

“We have four annual 10-week modules at university and submit a written report at the end of each one,” she said.

“I managed the time in first and second year but when I got my first project, it started to get a little trickier. I wanted my full focus on work but I didn’t want my work at university to slip so most of my uni work has been done in the evenings and at weekends.

“It can be difficult and you need to be committed but it’s a sacrifice I’m prepared to make.

“I do think more people should consider a Graduate Apprenticeship. You learn the theory side through your university work and then you’re able to put it into practice.”

National recognition

A particular high point for Katy was her recognition in the Women in Property National Student Awards shortlist.

“That was definitely a high,” she said. “I was chosen out of the whole Built Environment course at RGU so it was a real honour.

“I was also really happy when Pert Bruce made me site manager for the Royal Montrose Mercantile renovation project. It was satisfying to know that they thought I was up to the challenge.

“There is a tight-knit community at Pert Bruce Construction where we’re always willing to help each other. I know I’d help anyone as much as I could and others would do the same for me.

“I’ve learned a lot, especially from the guys on site, and I know I still have a lot to learn. There have been certain things from my personal life that knocked my confidence but overall, I’ve discovered that I’m smarter than I think and I can stand up for myself when I need to.”


So what does the future hold for Katy other than graduating this summer?

“I want to stay and build my knowledge more here at Pert Bruce,” she said.

“There is such a variety of interesting, complex and satisfying projects to get involved in, from supporting the energy transition to renovations of historic buildings.”

She is off to start her next challenge, completing her dissertation and then site managing the Pert Bruce project, conversion of a farm steading into a wedding venue.

For Katy and construction, it’s a match made in heaven and she is confident she will be building a career on strong foundations from a Graduate Apprenticeship.

#ScotAppWeek2024 #Apprentice

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