Gaist are thrilled to be sponsors of the apprentice of the year award at the upcoming DfT special recognition awards at LCRIG strictly highways, highlighting the outstanding young talent making waves across the industry.
In this interview we will shine a light on Ed Daniels, a former apprentice at Gaist who has progressed through his apprenticeship and is now a valued member of our staff- a great success story!
Throughout his apprenticeship and following his graduation Ed has done vital work preparing, mapping and analysing data for internal use and for clients to better understand their network needs, performing a key role in the professional services team at Gaist.
Data analysis is a vital part of using data to improve asset management outcomes for highways departments in the UK and was noted in the 2023 RAC Foundation Report, referring to the ‘skills gap’ in new forms of local authority data and how, ‘data and road skills are a rare combination’ (p.38).
One aspect of the role professional services plays in assisting our local authority clients is taking the data we provide and turn it in to outputs that they can use to improve their highways network, through scheme identification, lifecycle modelling and so on. As a data analyst, Ed is at the forefront of providing this service to our clients- working closely with them and combining his data and road skills to benefit the highways department in question.
For national apprenticeship week in 2021 we did an interview with Ed to see how he was getting on. Now we are going back to Ed to reflect on his time as an apprentice and how he has grown into his current role.
See Ed below (second from the left) alongside other members of the professional services team (L-R) San Ozmen, Ed, Josh English, Christina Liassides, Olivia Sheward and Sifnaiou):
1) Hi Ed, we first ran a feature back in February 2021 as part of national apprenticeships week, have you now completed your apprenticeship?
I completed my Level 4 apprenticeship in Data analysis earlier this year. I finished with a distinction.
2) Wow, congratulations- that’s a real achievement, has it been a rewarding experience for you?
Definitely. I really enjoyed my apprenticeship, and the guidance I received from my colleagues made the experience much more rewarding. Being able to learn whilst working has made me much more confident in my abilities- it was 100% worth it.
3) In our last interview, we asked you where you saw yourself in 5 years and you answered, ‘to have completed my apprenticeship and ideally seen as someone who has a good understanding of the highways sector. I am excited to take on more responsibilities in the next few years working for Gaist’. How do you feel your understanding and experience of the Highways industry has developed since then?
As I have spent more time in my current role, taking on more responsibilities, I have been able to widen my knowledge of the highways industry. I have also been able to use CPD during my time at Gaist to improve my knowledge of the sector.
4)That’s sounds great, would it be fair to say you’ve taken on a lot more responsibilities as your knowledge and skills have grown too?
Yes, I would say so. As my skills have grown, I have been able to take larger roles in projects and solve problems that I might not have had the knowledge to solve before completing my apprenticeship.
5) Having been through an apprenticeship and been successful, would you recommend this to others looking for a career in highways?
As someone who did not have much highway knowledge prior to my apprenticeship, I would definitely recommend an apprenticeship to get into the industry. It has allowed me to learn whilst also getting to use my knowledge in a workplace environment.
6) What specific parts of your current role do you enjoy the most?
Throughout my time at Gaist, I have most enjoyed working with GIS (Geographic information system) software. GIS allows us to visualise and understand data from a geographical standpoint.
7) Have there been any specific projects you’ve been involved in that you’re particularly proud of?
There is not necessarily a specific project over the course of my time at Gaist. However, I have been proud of being able to help colleagues with projects that were previously out of my comfort zone. Such as helping with schemes and lifecycle modelling.
8) In the last interview we did you noted that you’re a big film fan- can you give us your top 3 from 2023 so far?
1. Spiderman: Across the Spider-Verse
2. Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part 1
9) As a final question (ending it as we did last time), where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In 5 years' time, I would like to see myself still learning and growing my career in the industry. I would love to be taking on more responsibility in my role, being an integral member of our team.
Want to know more about the work our professional services team do with local authorities to connect their data to decisions? Get in Contact