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BUILD THE FUTURE: Degree Apprentices engineer a very civil partnership


Two Walsall Council Degree Apprentices are proving that age is no barrier to learning and together they’ve engineered a very civil partnership. 

Clive Kenton, 62, and Eden Turley, 20, are both studying for Civil Engineering Degree Apprenticeships in the University of Wolverhampton’s School of Architecture and Built Environment at its £120 million brownfield regeneration project on Springfield Campus. 

At either ends of the learning spectrum, the two Apprentices have supported each other since starting the part-time Apprenticeship and are in their fourth year of the five-year course. 

Clive has worked for Walsall Council for 33 years having secured an Ordinary National Diploma (OND) in Building Studies and a Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Civil Engineering after a stint in the Army. He has recently been promoted to Principal Engineer at the Council. 

Eden joined Walsall Council after completing his A Levels and is a Degree Apprentice Civil Engineer. 

The two Apprentices have supported each other from the beginning of the Apprenticeship, with Clive offering experience and knowledge gained throughout his career, and Eden helping with the more technical aspects of the degree. 

Councillor Mark Statham, Walsall Council’s cabinet member for internal services said: “I’m delighted that our Civil Engineers are able to access high quality training within the workplace and that they have been able to work closely together throughout the programme. They make a great partnership and we are all very proud of both of them.

“Here at Walsall Council we believe Apprenticeships are good for business, as Apprentices can be moulded and shaped in their area of expertise, to deliver the exact skills our business needs. The Apprenticeship programme also means our employees who have many years of work experience can actually gain recognition for those skills but also enhance their knowledge of their area of expertise. It really is a win, win for us.

“It also shows the wide variety of Apprenticeships available leading to a career within Local Government - Apprentices are the future decision makers, managers and leaders of Walsall Council and continuing to bring Apprentices into the business, even in such difficult times, is important to protect our future, whilst ensuring we continue to deliver the vital services our communities depend upon. We would urge all employers to continue to recruit, and to benefit from government incentives to ease financial burden, whilst offering exciting and rewarding careers opportunities to Apprentices.”

Clive said: “When I started out on my career path at Walsall Council, at the time, you had to pay for your degree and I couldn’t afford that.  It was great to find out, when Eden arrived, that I could start to study for a degree regardless of my age.  

“Having Eden at my side has really helped me.  I’m supposed to be his mentor, but for the first two years he was pulling me along and helping me with my Maths.  Later on, those roles reversed and I started to help him out more with report writing utilising the more in-depth knowledge and experience I’d gained over the years throughout my career. 

“My aim is to get my Incorporated Engineer (IEng) certification through this degree and the opportunity offered by my employer, Walsall Council, to achieve this qualification at my age has shown that it really is never too late to learn.” 

Eden said: “I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my future. I did some work experience in Civil Engineering and it really helped to prepare me with the job at the Council and the learning on the degree. 

“Me and Clive get on really well, Clive is more academic and has had a lot more experience and I’m more technical in terms of Maths and research and Clive is a lot better at report writing so we help each other.   

“My aim through this Degree Apprenticeship is to become Chartered and move into the structural side of things - because with Civil Engineering you can actually see what you’re doing and you can make some sort of meaningful impact on the world. You also get a lot more experience on an Apprenticeship than you would going to university full-time.” 

Councillor Statham added: “The Endless Possibilities Apprenticeship programme continues to go from strength to strength and we have more than 400 Apprentices in various roles across Walsall Council — growing from just a handful in 2017. 

“Clive and Eden are fantastic examples of what the council’s Apprenticeship programme sets out to do, and that is to provide people from all backgrounds with real opportunities to reach their full potential through real jobs with real training, peer support and continuous professional development.  

“The benefits go both ways; our Apprentices are helping us to modernise what we do, address imbalances in the workforce across age, gender and ethnicity and bring new energy, ideas and fresh perspectives into the council.” 

The University has recently secured accreditation for its Civil Engineering degree courses from four leading professional bodies. Courses have been accredited for the next five years by the Institute of Civil Engineers, the Institute of Structural Engineers, the Institute of Highways Engineers and the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation. 

The new School of Architecture and Built Environment offers specialist teaching and social learning spaces, design studios, specialist labs, multi-disciplinary workshops, lecture theatre, cafe, offices, meeting rooms, ICT rooms and a top floor super studio with double height ceilings.  

It provides space for nearly 1,100 existing students and 65 staff, with the number of students projected to grow over time to 1,600.  

The School specialises in supporting skills in architecture, construction, civil engineering, building control, building services, facilities management, quantity surveying, planning, construction management, housing and commercial. 

Home to the Thomas Telford University Technical College (UTC), the University’s School of Architecture and Built Environment, and the Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills, the regeneration of the former Springfield Brewery is central to the University’s vision of enhancing the student experience and supporting business growth. It will also be home to the University’s new National Brownfield Research Institute for which the University recently secured £14.9 million funding from the BCLEP through the government’s Get Building Fund. 

This year, the 15th annual National Apprenticeship Week (#NAW2022) is running from Monday 7 February through to Sunday 13 February 2022 with the theme ‘BUILD THE FUTURE’ and the University is showcasing the impact Apprenticeships have on communities, local businesses and regional economies. 

Throughout the week we will be shining the spotlight on some of our employers who are committed to upskilling their workforce and some of our Apprentices who, despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic over the past two years, are continuing to learn or who have already graduated. 

Employers who are interested in talking to the Apprenticeship Hub about Degree Apprenticeships check out the website, telephone 0800 953 3222 or email 

Anyone wanting to find out more about how Degree Apprenticeships can benefit employees and business, check out this page on the website:


For more information please contact the Corporate Communications Team.

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