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At Bouygues E&S, we are holding our own 'Apprentice of the Year Awards' today to recognise and celebrate our top emerging talent. Those nominated include individuals who joined us via the 2020 UK Government Kickstart Scheme.

From a fall in vacancies at the start of the pandemic to a current UK recruitment crisis and an ongoing industry skills shortage, we recognise the positive impact we can make to young people looking for an opportunity to start their career path in the ever-evolving built environment. The Kickstart scheme and our Apprenticeship Scheme are testament to how this can be achieved successfully.

Kickstart Scheme: aligning with our commitment to develop and foster young talent within the business.

In 2021, Bouygues Energies & Services (E&S) joined the Government Kickstart Scheme which provided employers with the funding to create new work experience opportunities for 16–24-year-olds on Universal Credit and on long-term unemployment.

At Bouygues E&S, we are committed to identifying and developing talent at all levels within our workforce and recognise the importance of supporting the next generation into employment. We therefore seized the opportunity to join the Kickstart Scheme and offered over one hundred opportunities to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to promote employment amongst disadvantaged young people.

Over the course of the scheme, we onboarded twenty-seven Kickstarters in a wide range of job roles including Administrator, Energy Reduction Champion, Facilities Assistant, Maintenance Operative, and Stores Person.

One year on, fifteen candidates successfully completed the 6-month scheme and a further five now completing their term. Of the fifteen to have completed so far, five have been offered permanent or apprenticeship roles within the business and another has an extended temporary contract.

We spoke to the five successful candidates about how they found the scheme and what opportunity it has provided within the business.

Leonardo Cherfan, North Middlesex University Hospital (NMUH):

Leonardo CherfanLeonardo joined the Kickstart scheme in June 2021 at NMUH. Within four months of demonstrating his capability and willingness to learn, the team decided Leonardo was an emerging talent and offered him an apprenticeship with BYES.

Why did you join the Kickstart scheme?

“I joined the Kickstart scheme because it provided me with an opportunity to work for BYES and gain more experience within the industry I am most interested in.”

Did you enjoy the work, was it challenging enough?

“I enjoyed my time on the Kickstart Scheme and the work was set to the right level for my ability. What I enjoyed the most was learning on the job and eventually carrying out mechanical works. I also had a great support network amongst my colleagues.”

What are the most important things you have learnt and taken away from this experience?

“The Kickstart scheme gave me the time and opportunity to make the right decisions for my future. Now, as an apprentice, I have been learning about all the mechanical components and how to conduct the repairs properly and safely.”

Eve Meyrick, Kent Street Lighting Office.

Eve Meyrick Eve joined BYES on the scheme in August  2021 as a Business Administrator. Her  placement was at our Kent Office where  she became a   permanent member of the  team in March this year.

 Why did you join the Kickstart scheme?

 “I joined the scheme after graduating from  university in 2020 during the height of the  pandemic. With lots of people out of work,  it was   extremely hard to find jobs which  meant a lot of the time jobs would go to  people with more experience. When an  opportunity came   along to join the  scheme, I took the chance as I saw it as an  avenue to gain and build on the skills I  would need in the future.”

 Did you enjoy the work, was it challenging enough?

 The work was enjoyable as it was within a sector that I did not know much about, this enabled me to learn a lot. I moved around the   different teams within the office which meant everyday was different. I faced many challenges which has developed my ability to adapt   and think critically.”

 What are the most important things you have learnt and taken away from this experience?

 As I had no prior office experience, I have learnt a lot while on this scheme as well as gained experience working within a small team in a   professional environment. My confidence has also improved vastly during these six months both in the office and in my day-to-day life.


Jonathan Bailey, Oxford John Radcliffe Hospital (OJRH).

Jonathan BaileyJonathan began the Kickstart Scheme in June 2021 and was placed at OJRH as an Energy Reduction Monitor. After successfully completing the full 6 months of the scheme, Jonathon was offered a permanent role as an Emergency Lighting Technician.

Why did you join the Kickstart scheme?

“I joined the scheme through Universal Credit which supported me after I had finished my degree in Mechanical Engineering during Covid-19 lockdown. I was looking to gain work experience but uncertain of which direction to go. Therefore, the Kickstart Scheme seemed an ideal opportunity as it allowed me to look for short-term placements in a wide variety of industries.”

What did you do on a day-to-day basis?

“I shadowed both Managers and Engineers to gain a better understanding of the daily routine maintenance in Facilities Management as well as long-term projects. As a result, I learned how to conduct maintenance tasks on the job and eventually completed routine tasks and reactive maintenance jobs independently.”

What did you enjoy most about this experience and what have you taken away from it?

“I enjoyed the variety of work the role had to offer as no two days were the same. Some aspects of the role were more challenging than others, but there was always something to do. From this experience, I have developed effective and quick problem-solving skills and improved on my interpersonal and communication skills. I am incredibly happy to still be a part of the team and would thoroughly recommend the
Kickstart Scheme to anyone.”

Shafiq Shah, Central Middlesex University Hospital (CMUH).

Shafiq Shah Shafiq joined the Kickstart Scheme in July 2021 as a Maintenance Operative within the Estates team at CMUH. After completing the full six   months of the scheme, Shafiq was offered a permanent role under the new title of Maintenance Worker.

 Why did you join the Kickstart Scheme?

 “I come from an IT background. Therefore, I saw the scheme as a good opportunity to branch out and gain more hands-on experience in   Mechanical Engineering which I have wanted to do for some time.”  

 Did you enjoy the work, was it challenging enough?

 “On a day-to-day basis I worked alongside engineers from different trades and learned from them. The role provided plenty of challenges   which allowed me to pick up new skills and grow.”

 What are the most important things you have taken away from this experience?

 “The most important thing I have taken away from this experience is to never be afraid to try new things because the Kickstart scheme has led   to a fulltime post within BYES.”

Oliver Chapman, Broomfield Hospital.

David Carr and OliverOliver joined the Kickstart Scheme in November 2021 as a Business Administrator at our Broomfield Hospital Site. Oliver has been offered a permanent position after he completed his six months.

Why did you join the Kickstart Scheme?

“I chose to join the Kickstart Scheme during a challenging time in my life. I was looking for work during lockdown restrictions due to Covid-19 and prior to the scheme I had no previous experience in an office environment. During a telephone meeting with my work coach in April 2021, it was mentioned how I am eligible for the Kickstart Scheme. I applied because it was a fantastic opportunity to gain essential skills and experience.”

What did you enjoy the most about the experience?

“I enjoyed meeting new people, learning new skills and the copious amounts of support and appreciation I received from the team. The work could be challenging at times, like creating a painting plan from scratch using a limited amount of data, but extremely rewarding once completed.”

What are the most important things you have learnt and taken away from the experience?
“I have become more confident and accepting of myself, something I found extremely difficult before joining the Kickstart Scheme.” 

Simon Hayman, Regional Director, said: “As the Chair of the Apprentice Committee, I have been really excited to have the opportunity to watch people on the Kickstarter scheme then develop their careers through the Bouygues E&S Apprenticeship scheme.”

Paul Cadman, HR Director, concluded: “I have been delighted with the success of our participation in the Kickstart scheme. Three-quarters of participants successfully completed their six months placements. Twenty per cent of participants were invited to join the company on a permanent basis. These success stories are a great example of inclusivity in action. I would like to thank everybody who worked to make it such a great success.”

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