Maggie Taylor on her Experience as an FM Conway Apprentice

Maggie Taylor details her experience as a commercial apprentice for FM Conway’s Aggregates and Asphalt (A&A) division.

I am so pleased to be a part of the family at FM Conway, but I had no idea that I would eventually find my way into the construction industry. Here I will share my journey into just how I came to be an apprentice at the company and how my experience will guide me in the future.

Initially at school I wanted to work in medicine as I really enjoyed science and mathematics, but after a lot of research, as well as work experience in the anaesthetics department at my local hospital, I realised that this wasn’t the right path for me. After a lot of thought, I decided that going to university full-time wouldn’t suit me either. I wanted to be working and learning vital skills in the working environment as well as continuing my education.

Therefore, I decided that an apprenticeship would be the perfect fit for me, so I took it upon myself to attend apprenticeship fairs to see if there were any local to me that sparked my interest. It was then at the National Apprenticeship Show where I met FM Conway. I was so impressed by the apprentices and other representatives of the company that I knew it would be the perfect environment for me.

During the summer of 2018 I was fortunate enough to gain a position on FM Conway’s work experience week, where they had an entire week devoted to encouraging young women into the construction industry. I really loved this experience!

Throughout the week I was able to visit the Erith Asphalt Plant which was so impressive; the scale and complexity of the asphalt process was striking and also being able to visit the Laboratory nearby was brilliant. I had no idea how much testing asphalt underwent before it met the requirements needed to make it a suitable product. We also visited the Recycling Plant, live sites in Westminster, Women in Construction and had speeches delivered by some very influential women in the industry.

Every day was something new and that’s what I loved about Conway; all the different aspects of the business working together, to deliver an entire project from start to finish in a superb self-delivery model.

From here I was able to complete a two-week course at the London Construction Academy at Elephant and Castle, where I was able to obtain my Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) Card, First Aid certificate, Traffic Marshall training, Fire Marshall training and I was able to get a BTEC in Health and Safety in Construction.

This was again a great experience and from this I was fortunate enough to get an interview for an apprenticeship at FM Conway with CEO Michael Conway MBE. I was very apprehensive about my interview and I didn’t really know what to expect, but in reality I had nothing to fear and I left feeling so excited and enthused about my next steps, as I was lucky to gain an apprenticeship in the A&A department at FM Conway.

I started as an apprentice in January of this year, but I didn’t really know what to expect. I had very little prior knowledge of Asphalt and Aggregates, but I instantly felt welcomed by a great team. As an apprentice I have been immersed into so many different aspects of the department and learnt about all the varying roles that make up A&A. I really wasn’t expecting to love my job as much as I do. I have been able to be a part of some really big projects and have felt supported to succeed through every learning obstacle.

With the guidance of all of the members of A&A, I slowly became accustomed to the complex system WeighCon used in the department and began understanding all the functions and capabilities of this system. From this I was able to learn how to amend, place and track the progress of all the orders at each of the plants. I was also able to understand further applications of this system, which I now use every day to carry out all aspects of my role.

On top of this, I have also been able to be a part of various other aspects of A&A, including a little bit of marketing. During the first few months when I started in the department, I contributed towards the grand opening of the Aldershot Asphalt Plant, which had recently undergone a £3.5 million upgrade. I really enjoyed this experience and I feel that it helped me to liaise with the customers, which in turn allowed me to develop my client relationships.

From this I was tasked with the management of a few of FM Conway’s Collect Customers, and under the guidance of the Sales Team, I feel able to learn more and more everyday about communicating effectively with customers, quotations, queries and much more! I have really enjoyed being a part of Conway Collect and from this I have been successful in being able to help boost our Onsite Shops. This way we can serve all of our customers better and provide them with a large array of items to help them carry out jobs effectively and quickly, by having the availability to purchase these items whilst at the plant.

Not only this, but I have been fortunate to learn all about how asphalt is made. I really had no idea just how complex the process is and just how extensive the various forms of asphalt are, as they all have different properties and functions.

I have been able to take this knowledge and be a representative for FM Conway at apprenticeship fairs, as well as being able to deliver school presentations to speak to others about the fantastic opportunities available within FM Conway. I am really thankful to everyone in A&A as they are brilliant people to work with, as everyone has been so supportive.

I am now really looking forward to my future steps, as I start University in September and also for the up and coming Newhaven Asphalt plant, which I’m sure will be so successful. There are so many exciting things ahead for myself and FM Conway!