Tevin Kairo, Junior Engineer, at B&W Engineering with Steven Horn, Director at B&W Engineering

A leading North East MEP engineering firm has made its first appointment from the region’s PlanBEE programme in a drive to help young talent get into the industry.

PlanBEE, inspired by Ryder Architecture, brings together Gateshead College and leading construction companies. The initiative helps to prepare young people for a career in construction across a wide range of professional and technical roles in areas such as engineering, building services and architecture.

Tevin Kairo, 23, completed PlanBEE and applied for an apprentice engineering role at B&W. Following a successful probationary period, Tevin is now a full-time employee at the company as a Junior Engineer. The firm is also supporting him through a BEng (Hons) degree in Building Services Engineering.

Steven Horn, Director at B&W Engineering, said: “Our industry is facing a huge skills shortage so it’s vital that we act now to help develop the future workforce. By being actively involved in programmes like PlanBEE and other vocational focused initiatives like the new government Kickstart scheme, employers can make a big difference to future proofing the industry and ensuring innovation and progress continues.

“At B&W we have created a progressive and proactive environment that nurtures young talent every step of the way. Tevin impressed us during his interview and, although onboarded remotely, he has fitted into the team seamlessly and we’re really pleased with not just his developing skill set but his attitude and commitment to the role.”

With offices in London, Edinburgh and Newcastle, B&W have grown strongly in the last 12 months, adding 22 employees to their UK workforce during a challenging time for the wider sector.

Tevin Kairo, from Heaton in Newcastle upon Tyne, said: “Joining PlanBEE was the best thing I did because it has led me to the career I’m progressing with now. My advice to anyone leaving school and looking to get into the construction sector is to enrol onto PlanBEE which teaches you everything you need to know about the industry both in terms of knowledge and practical learning.

“During the two-year course I learnt so much and I was astounded at the wide range of varied roles within construction. It’s not just about bricklaying or working on a building site – you can be involved in the engineering side, the design of construction, quantity surveying or even the legal and accounting aspect of construction.

“The B&W team are super supportive and I’m learning every day and developing new skills that are needed to progress and succeed in my role. I spend one day a week studying and the rest learning on-the-job. Often, the modules at university match what I’ve been involved in at work which is massively beneficial from a development perspective.

“Initiatives such as PlanBEE are like a breath of fresh air – and young people really need to grab the opportunity it provides with both hands.”

Gateshead College is a leading provider of vocational education and works closely with the region’s top employers to help them overcome talent development challenges. They do this by providing a range of bespoke apprenticeships and programmes specifically designed to meet the workforce needs of a business, including PlanBEE.

Chris Toon, Deputy Principal at Gateshead College, said: “More than 20 of the region’s largest construction businesses are now involved in PlanBEE and it’s great that our graduates go on to secure roles with these companies. The programme not only gives them the right skills to be able to hit the ground running but we’re also helping the North East’s construction firms to plug a skills gap both now and in the future.

“It’s great to hear that Tevin is doing so well and working at B&W Engineering. Best of luck to him and all our other former students.”