September 12, 2022

An Interview with Travis Redfern

An Interview with Travis Redfern, Digital Engineering Technician Apprentice at Hinkley Point C

Hi. I'm Travis Redfern and I am a digital engineering apprentice for Bylor on the Hinkey point C project in Somerset and essentially what Bylor are,  are a joint venture between Laing O’Rourke and Bouygues Travaux Public to come together and provide the means of engineering work on the Hinkley Point C project.

Our organisation is helping the industry by bringing the best minds together from both industries and providing opportunities for people who maybe haven't been in the industry before, like myself, and given the experience on the project like Hinkley to really kick start a career. Or even just add that extra bit to their career that maybe other people wouldn't have. 

As a digital engineer within Bylor and especially on a project like Hinkley Point C, I think the big thing that we are doing is that we are directly impacting the way the work is being done on site but in a new innovative way so we’re delivering construction information by enriching it and providing them in a more innovative way so they can go to work more efficiently and they can get to work far more effectively and that is now being done all over the country. It's just very advanced here.

What we're doing here as a digital engineer, within Bylor, not on Hinkley Point C, it directly impacts on the way that work can be done on site as well. you can see it directly impacting the way the public can be done on site C when that starts.

The main positives that we see in Bylor, especially in Hinkley Point C project is the opportunity that you get whether you are an apprentice like myself or a senior like my managers. Everyone has an equal opportunity and everyone's opinion/thoughts are considered and matched and there is no sort of discrimination because you are an apprentice or however many years of experience that you might have. 

I can really distinctly remember my first day on a project like this because like I said I did not come from a construction background, my dad was a welder but I obviously had no experience myself and what I studied at college wasn’t construction related at all. My first day here, I just remember being taken back by how BIG everything was, how busy everything was and how connective everything was.

I remember meeting everybody for the first time, who I now have a laugh and joke with as I’ve been here three years. It seems surreal that three years ago I didn't know any of them, and now some of them I call my good friends.

I mentioned that I didn't have a construction background, the way I got into the industry was the fact that at college I studied 3 studies in my first year, two of which I didn't enjoy I then took environmental Science A level and IT and that gave me the sustainability idea and the green passion and then the IT gave me digital skills which at the time I didn't know would be very applicable to construction.

I then saw my job role on the young HPC page which young people can sign up to before they are the appropriate age for working at Hinkley. I remember going to a talk at the local college that I have been studying at for three years and done by an apprentice cohort above mine and I remember walking out of that releasing the IT skills that I loved and learnt over the prior two years, I remember walking from that room to the top of the stairs, turning to my parents and saying I need to apply for this, I don't even think I had arrived at home before sending off my CV and application for this job role.

The whole industry has taught me good is good enough and that you don't have to be from a background to succeed. As I said, I didn't have any construction idea and I’ve gone and won awards as an apprentice, done lots of media content, lots of stuff within the industry, which again prior to starting, one, I didn't know was available and two, to be honest, I didn't think I’d be able to achieve. But then again, three years on, I have.

The particular bit that I wanted to mention was my mentor, I’ve had three key mentors within my job. I’ve had Terry Parkinson, who is now working on a different area of the project, but at the time was sort of the digital lead, he taught me that focusing on what I’m doing will really help and made me realise where I should be focusing my energy and how to be more professional and how that is not only going to benefit the tasks that I am doing now but giving me the confidence to being a really influential digital engineer further into my career so that has always kept me going and giving me the belief in myself that I can do it.

When I started my first line manager was a man called Tim Davies, maybe one of the smartest people that I have ever met. What he did was ask me what I like doing, and I started with that while applying it to digital engineering. Which was coding, developing tools and things and what he did with that was that he let me express myself and my passion in a way which I didn't know was possible when I started and ultimately what that did was build my love for my job, my love for what I am doing. He would often talk to me and relate to me on a personal level as well about it, so it wasn't just a professional point of view but from a friend's point of view.

Without Tim at the very beginning, I don't know if I would love my job as much as I do. I very much enjoy what I do, but how he introduced me to the job and the role is what maybe blossomed that love for digital engineering. 

I’d argue that maybe the most important out of all of them has been Victoria Jones, she’s been my line manager since she joined the organisation two years ago and quite frankly if it wasn’t for her I don’t know what I would be doing. I was at a pretty low point in both life and my job. She picked me right up out of it and made me realise that yes, I am very talented and yes, I’ve still got a lot to offer and ultimately motivated to go on and do better things and really excel in what I am doing. She motivates me both personally and professionally. She has been one of the biggest blessings in my whole apprenticeship. Her influence and her mentoring has, I don't want to say, made me the digital engineer I am today as I have had both Tim and Terry influencing me. But particularly over the last two years working with her I have noticed a difference not just in myself, but in what I am producing and the relationship that I am having with different teams. I really want to thank Victoria Jones for believing in me and I think that it's particularly important as an apprentice as we can often feel very small but she made me believe in myself and what I am doing and without her, I wouldn’t have gone on to achieve everything that I have.

I think the thing that I tell my younger self and the thing that I believe the future of the industry is, just because you don't have a construction background does not mean that you will not succeed. My generation, generation Z, we are called the digital generation and rightly so, we have grown up with the internet, computers, gaming consoles, everything. We have grown up with them much like our parents didn't. I think what that means is that apprenticeships throughout the future are going to be particularly important because we have grown up with that technology and ultimately we are bringing skills that some would have to have learnt before, whether that be coding, animations, visualisations, anything. I think that this ties into the future of the industry and apprentices of the future are going to be even more important than they are today because digital technology and its power of them are extraordinary and our generation is right at the forefront of really being able to implement them and use of them, particularly to a high level as well. 

My advice to younger people, my age and below, I would say probably don't rule out construction, don't rule out engineering, don't rule out this industry just because you don't come from a background in it. I didn't and as humbly as I can put it, I’ve done very well winning awards and things and being a very important member here at Bylor, particularly in digital engineering and the nuclear area.

Travis Redfern
Digital Engineering Technician Apprentice
Bouygues Travaux Publics
Bouygues Travaux Publics

Would you like to get in touch with

Travis Redfern

? - Send a email

Hand icon

Looking to get started in the construction industry

Start your journey
Ambassador icon

I want to become a Saint Ambassador.

Start your journey