Project Pipeline: County Durham and Tees Valley

This work will boost the resilience of supply links between our reservoirs and treatment works in Teesdale, and parts of central and southern County Durham. Our investment will increase reliability, reduce leakage and provide high quality drinking water for customers for decades to come. This phase of the project - Phase 1 - will construct a new replacement pipeline from Lartington Water Treatment Works to Gainford and a new strategic transfer main between Whorley Hill SR and Shildon SR.

Update by Karen Alexander

Good afternoon,

In recognition of National Apprenticeship Week, I’d like to share with you a recent interview I carried out with one of the excellent apprentices based on Project Pipeline: County Durham and Tees Valley – Ryan Crawford.

Can you introduce yourself, please?

My name is Ryan and I’m 24 years old. I am an Apprentice Civil Engineer at Farrans Construction and have been with Farrans since 2019. I am currently completing an IEng (Incorporated Engineer) degree-level apprenticeship. 

What made you want to go into an apprenticeship?

At a young age, I always wanted to “build stuff”. My father is an engineer, so it was a natural choice for me to follow this career path. I attended a work experience placement with Farrans at the Twelve Quays Bridge project in Liverpool, this sparked my interest in working full-time with Farrans. 

What were the entry requirements for your apprenticeship?  

Farrans helped sign me up for a degree apprenticeship with a university, which did require UCAS points. In my experience, the process was simple and straightforward. I applied to John Moores University and was accepted. 

In brief, what does the role entail?
My job role on Project Pipeline today involves overseeing the pipelaying and welding gangs, setting out, taking readings of center points to check levels and elevation, and making sure equipment is working.  I also prepare and upload quality paperwork (‘as builts’) to Aconex. Previously on the same contract, I was involved with the pre-construction drainage and the preparation of pipeline routes.


What aspect of your job do you enjoy most?

Working with a team who are great to get along with, as well as being very respectful. Also ‘setting out’ – it’s really interesting to see how people approach this job in different ways, so you learn how to do things more efficiently.

What do you find most challenging in your apprenticeship?

Travel can sometimes be a chore; also, it’s tricky to balance the demands of the job with uni work.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 
Hopefully progressing through the ranks in Farrans and being promoted. 

What advice would you give to others thinking about following this career path?  

Always strive for what you want to do in life, and always put in your all. Work hard and be punctual – this shows you’re enthusiastic and it can create more opportunities for you in the future. My motto is “Being early is to be on time, being on time is to be late, and being late is unforgivable”.

Any last thoughts?
It’s mind-blowing to see a project like Twelve Quays in Liverpool finished – knowing what the place looked like before it was there, then seeing it fully constructed; being able to walk on it, drive on it, and knowing I was part of the team building it.


Karen Alexander                                              

Farrans’ Community Business Partner




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