Name: Graham Sant
Job Title: Executive Director
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National Apprenticeship Week 8th- 14th February 2021
12 February 2021
The Power of Apprenticeships
Graham Sant: Journey from Apprentice to Executive Director.
During the latter years of secondary school Graham spent most of his spare time working for local builders and labouring on building sites, hardly a surprise for the son of a roofer….so for Graham the choice was simple ‘it was either farming or building’ and having tried both he soon realised the pay was better in building. Despite his teacher’s encouragement to remain at school and study A-levels Graham had a taste for working for a living and couldn’t wait to get out into the world of work.
At 16 Graham joined one of the UK’s largest construction companies, Sir Robert McAlpine through the government’s YTS (Youth Training Scheme), the forerunner to today’s Modern Apprenticeships. Earning a far lesser wage than his friends on site labouring, Graham’s father convinced him to start on the YTS saying ‘it will pay dividends in the future son, you mark my words’.
Graham joined McAlpine’s Design office in Knutsford as an office junior and spent the first 12 months learning how to file, correctly fold drawings, running errands, cleaning drafting pens and scale rules and printing A0 drawings using an acetone print machine and suffering the sore eyes that went along with the whole experience at the end of every day. But he didn’t mind, this company not only employed him…they sent him to college once a week as well to learn all about Civil Engineering. Graham’s upbringing had always taught him to appreciate hard work, but actually getting to experience the world of work alongside studying gave him a new-found appreciation for the dedication and determination he would need to succeed.
His reward was to come, training as a General Arrangement Draftsman and subsequently a Reinforced Concrete Detailer on the UK’s first PWR (Pressurised Water Reactor) Nuclear Power Station.
In his own words Graham owes his entry into a Career in Engineering to his lead Engineer at the time, George Walton, a man passionate about the Institution of Civil Engineers and a true mentor of the next generation; he epitomised everything about the Civil Engineers of his generation, proud to don the Institution tie on a daily basis, calm, measured and considered in every fastidious detail and challenge one of the UK’s largest construction projects of the day threw at the team.
Fast forward 35 years….college certificates, a part time degree and a Chartership in Structural Engineering and Fellowship in Civil Engineering overlays a career that’s seen the opportunity to work on projects across the globe and diversity as wide as your imagination, from domestic underpinning projects to HS2 Graham couldn’t be prouder to have started his career as an Apprentice and now as an Executive Director for BWB Consulting continue that drive and support for Apprentices.
Graham Sant BEng (Hons) CEng FICE MIStructE