This week’s Sector Spotlight is focusing on the Construction Industry. Today, we hear from Jacqueline Argo, who is the Apprenticeships Officer for the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).
Jacqueline started her career as an Office Junior before becoming an Accounts Assistant. She then became Office Manager for a construction company, and moved into her current role 12 years ago.
Can you describe a typical day in your role as Apprenticeships Officer?
Prior to the COVID crisis, there was no such thing as a ‘typical day’. I can spend my day moving between building sites, checking up on apprentices; in at the college reviewing the progress of first and second years, or I could be travelling south for training and meetings. That’s what I love about this job, the variety and the fact that I get to spend a big part of my working day outside (maybe I don’t love that quite so much in the winter!)
How did you end up in this role?
I left school part way through sixth year as I didn’t want to be in the school environment anymore. Jocky Wood (former Deputy Head at Stromness Academy) managed to help me get a place at Kirkwall College of FE where I spent a couple of years doing gSVQs in Business Administration.
I started as an office junior with Orkney Enterprise and from there I moved to a company called Environment & Resource Technology where I was an Accounts Assistant. The company was bought over by a Norwegian company and I ended up working in Edinburgh and Aberdeen.
After moving back home I got a job with R Clouston Ltd where I worked as an Office Assistant before doing some retraining and promoted to Office Manager. I spent a good few years at Cloustons before falling pregnant.
After the birth of my first child I made the decision to go back to college to study for a degree in Business Management at Orkney College. I completed two years before this job was advertised, the rest as they say, is history! Nearly 12 years later I am still here and still loving the job. I always said I would go back to finish the degree, and I am still determined that will happen when the time is right.
What is the best thing about your job?
Seeing a young person through their apprenticeship journey is immensely rewarding, we have an amazing facility and lecturers at Orkney College who provide outstanding training from start to finish.
Watching the progress of a young person who at the start of an apprenticeship has minimal practical skills, to four years on when they can build a house as part of a team, is fantastic. These skills set them up for life and I’m privileged to be a small part of that journey.
What is the worst thing about your job?
There really is no worst thing. There is a lot of paperwork and bureaucracy as with many jobs, but you accept that as part and parcel and you get on with it.
There are some negatives with being a lone worker, I have no colleagues locally but because I am out and about so often I am always speaking to apprentices and employers so I never feel alone.
The positives of this job far outweigh any negatives.
What skills do you need to undertake your role?
Communication skills and adaptability are top of the list. I communicate with employers, apprentices, parents, college lecturers, managers and colleagues in my company so I need to be able to adapt to whatever situation I might find myself in.
I am also a lone, remote worker, so I need to be able to motivate myself and plan my workload effectively.
What qualifications do you have?
gSVQ 3 Business Admin
SVQ 3 Business Admin
SVQ 5 Management and Leadership
HND Business Management
Various workplace training, from Site Management to Mental Health First Aid.
Would you recommend this job to young people, if so why?
I would highly recommend this job to anyone interested in supporting young people on their career into construction. I would recommend even more an apprenticeship in Construction, that’s a job that sets you up for life.
If you are interested in undertaking a construction apprenticeship, you can contact Jacqueline by email on: Jacqueline.Argo@citb.co.uk
You can also learn more about apprenticeships by visiting CITB on: