How Bell is building a brighter future by investing in internships & apprenticeships (part 2)
A Q&A with our HR & recruiting leaders in celebration of National Apprenticeship Week
National Apprenticeship Week is a nationwide celebration designed to showcase the value of internships and apprenticeships. At BELL, we make it a priority to support the growth of the next generation through internships and apprenticeships. Our program provides on-the-job learning experiences that prepare interns and apprentices for real-life challenges. We go beyond academic knowledge and focus on building a solid foundation of skills through hands-on learning.
In addition to technical skills, our well-established internship program offers opportunities for job shadowing and mentorship, both in the office and in the field. Our interns work with project engineers, project managers, superintendents, and industry subcontractors who give them tasks and opportunities that help them grow their knowledge.
As we continue our celebration of National Apprenticeship Week, we spoke with leaders from our HR and recruiting team about BELL’s internship program, how the company equips interns and apprentices for successful careers, and much more.
Continue reading for their insights and advice for future interns and apprentices.
Tell us about how the intern & apprenticeship recruitment process works at BELL.
Alexzondra Fleetwood, HR Director: We’ve designed our intern and apprenticeship recruitment process to be engaging and tailored to the individual’s journey. We start by letting students know we’ll be visiting their college, creating anticipation and excitement. They can catch us at various college and career fairs across the region where we set up booths and tables to introduce students to BELL, our vibrant culture, and our exciting projects.
During these interactions, we’re not just looking for students. We’re looking for future team members who align with our core values, share our passion for the construction industry, and have a genuine interest in the type of construction work we do. We’re on the lookout for candidates with a strong desire to learn and grow, an eagerness to embrace new challenges, and a coachable attitude that fits into our collaborative environment. When we come across a perfect match, we’re ready to make on-the-spot offers, recognizing the exceptional talent right then and there. If they’re excited about learning, eager to be part of a dynamic team, and see their future in construction aligning with our values, BELL is the place where their journey can truly take off.
BELL team having fun at Murray State University’s career fair
We know BELL provides creative solutions to interns, such as giving them the opportunity to go to school during the day and work at night. What other ways is BELL meeting future employees where they are?
Alexzondra Fleetwood, HR Director: We’re all about meeting our future employees where they are, and that goes beyond innovative work arrangements. We understand the unique needs and aspirations of students, which is why we offer housing allowances, flexible work hours, competitive pay and networking opportunities. We’re committed to making the intern experience more than just a job. We believe it’s an investment in their futures.
Melissa Higginbotham, Recruiter: We provide internships several times throughout the year to meet the needs of students. We always aim to meet them where they are, including allowing students to continue collaborative work with us in a hybrid model so they can finalize project milestones after they return to school. This enables them to gain practical industry experience while continuing their education and creates meaningful connections with our project management team for the future.
Team members celebrate BELL’s recognition as a Nashville Business Journal 2023 “Best Place to Work”
How do you equip interns & apprentices for successful careers in construction?
Alexzondra Fleetwood, HR Director: We prioritize safety and integrity in everything we do. Our training program equips interns with a comprehensive understanding of construction project management by integrating safety protocols and ethical principles into every aspect of their education. Through a commitment to hands-on learning, mentorship, and exposure to real projects, we prepare interns to excel in the field while upholding our values. Our culture encourages continuous learning, teamwork, and a dedication to the highest standards of safety and integrity.
Melissa Higginbotham, Recruiter: Our interns work with project engineers, project managers, superintendents, and industry subcontractors who give them tasks and opportunities that help them grow their knowledge. They also have the chance to network with professionals at all levels. Additionally, we provide them with project site trips, so they can see how designs are implemented in the field from a general contractor’s perspective. This experience provides invaluable knowledge that goes beyond the classroom and helps prepare students for future careers. We strongly believe that investing in our workforce is crucial to developing skilled tradespeople for the future.
How is the internship/apprenticeship program at BELL meeting the need for more skilled professionals in the construction industry?
Alexzondra Fleetwood, HR Director: We prioritize addressing the construction industry’s need for skilled professionals by providing on-the-job learning experiences that prepare interns and apprentices for real-life challenges. We foster a culture that values excellence and safety, ensuring that our participants become not only skilled but also dedicated professionals who make a positive impact in the industry. We are committed to being a part of the solution to the industry’s demand for skilled workers who prioritize safety, integrity, and quality in their work. Our approach aims to produce individuals who are not only well-prepared, but also driven by the core values of safety, integrity, commitment, and a culture of excellence.
Melissa Higginbotham, Recruiter: Internships and apprenticeships are the keys to unlocking a world of industry knowledge and building lasting relationships between students and employers. We have seen firsthand the power of these programs, as they not only provide valuable mentorship and development for the future but also create a talent pipeline for opportunities that positively change lives and our communities. Through our partnerships with industry apprenticeship programs, we are proud to offer job opportunities that empower professionals to achieve their dreams and reach their full potential in the construction industry.
What’s one thing you would tell future interns & apprentices about BELL?
Alexzondra Fleetwood, HR Director: I would tell future interns and apprentices that working for our company is an opportunity to become part of a community that values safety, integrity, commitment, and work/life balance. Our commitment to safety means you’ll be in an environment that places your well-being first. Our dedication to integrity ensures that you’ll always be doing the right thing, even when no one is looking. Our culture emphasizes teamwork, learning, and a passion for excellence. Join us, and you’ll be part of a team that’s not just building structures or bridges, but also shaping a brighter future.
Melissa Higginbotham, Recruiter: We have been recognized as a great place to work where you can gain valuable industry knowledge and continue to grow. Our internships provide the opportunity to gain experience in different types of construction or trades such as carpentry or heavy equipment operation. We strongly believe in our mission of building better….one relationship one at a time and investing in the future workforce. By committing to learning and growth, you can unlock endless possibilities in the industry and with the BELL team.
To learn more about what it’s like to be an intern or apprentice at BELL, read Part 1 of our National Apprenticeship Week blog Q&A.