Passionate for engineering from a young age, Tom began a Civil Engineering Graduate Apprenticeship with Morrison Construction in 2020 following his Foundation Apprenticeship at West College Scotland (WCS).
Tom is currently working on the Minerva Street residential development project, with the role of supporting and learning from the Senior Civil Engineer on the site in all aspects of the development, in relation to civil engineering.
Tom, tell us about yourself and your journey with Morrison Construction so far?
I'm Tom Forrest. I'm a Graduate Apprentice Engineer. I started with Morrison’s when I was 17, as soon as I came out of school. I always knew what I wanted to do, to be an engineer, so I was quite lucky.
I spent my first year or so shadowing more senior members of staff, getting an idea about what was expected of me in this role and then from there on out just getting more experience and more time on the job. Now, I'm in my fourth year.
How did you know you wanted to be an engineer?
Because of my Grandad, to be honest. He was a civil engineer and he used to tell me all about the jobs he was a part of, in particular big infrastructure projects he worked on. He has worked all across the world, like in Algeria and Libya, just to name a few. He would tell me about all of his jobs, and I was just fascinated by structures in general – for example bridges, dams, tunnels, and how they stood the test of time and remained strong.
I also enjoy the problem-solving aspect of the job, especially as part of a team, as we're all close on site. I like the process of finding an issue, and then working with my team to try to figure out and find the best solution to the problem. Once our problem is solved, it's a rewarding feeling. When a project is finished, I get a strong sense of gratification by driving past it or seeing it in the news, as I feel like I helped make it possible.
That being said, what is your favourite project to have been a part of?
I've been part of quite a wide variety of projects, to be honest. I would say my favourite was the Paisley Town Hall refurbishment project (pictured above).
The town hall is a Grade A listed building under Historic Scotland, so it is protected due to its historical significance. The town hall is 140 years old, it's a beautiful building. The challenge with this project was the very limited interior space, so having the chance to observe the logistics of getting equipment and cranes inside the building was really interesting to see, and a valuable learning experience.
You’ve talked a lot about what you love about construction, do you think there any stigmas associated with working in the industry, and if so, how do you think that we can combat these?
I do, yes. I think there are a lot of people that think working in construction only includes career paths such as bricklayers, joiners, electricians, etc. The fact is, there are so many opportunities in construction, the list of opportunities in the industry is endless, and there really is a job for everyone.
Also, I think a lot of people view the construction industry as highly male-centric in nature, and believe they would not fit in. There is still that stigma of ‘it's a man's job’, however it is definitely not. This could not be further from the truth. We are starting to see a lot more women in construction, which is brilliant, and it’s great to see how companies like Morrison Construction promote these careers to all using positive role models and showcasing the great careers on offer.
One last question – describe your experience as an apprentice for Morrison Construction in one word?
I’d say, “brilliant”. Aye, there you go. Brilliant.