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20th November 2017 - Press Release

Kent benefits from further apprenticeships thanks to Dover Western Docks Revival

The Port of Dover and VSBW, the principal contractor for its flagship Dover Western Docks Revival (DWDR) development, are adding to their apprentice development programme and job opportunities for Kent's young people.

Harry Quested and Ismail Gonul, aged 17 and 21 respectively, on completing their first year at MidKent College, Maidstone have now joined Rory Sutton who started working on the project earlier in the year.

Harry and Ismail initially worked on the £250m development during part of the summer holidays, building up knowledge and experience before returning to their coursework in September to become quantity surveyors.

Stuart Eckersley, Project Director for VSBW, said: “It is an extremely important aspect of the workforce to have apprentices onsite.  Not only are we, as a project, helping and supporting the future of our industry, but our experienced engineers are able to share their knowledge and support local young people as they grow and develop.”

Harry’s and Ismail’s continued education will take up one day a week for the duration of their apprenticeships, along with Rory who is continuing to get ‘stuck in’ to data collection, reporting and problem solving.

Chris Hare, Executive Director of Employer Relations at MidKent College, said: “Congratulations to Harry and Ismail in securing their apprenticeship opportunities.  Alongside Rory, they have a fantastic opportunity to learn through their work on one of the most significant developments for the region.

“We look forward to supporting Port of Dover and VSBW, and celebrating the huge benefits that employing apprentices can bring to their businesses and communities.”

Both Harry and Ismail are looking forward to a bright future within civil engineering, initially with VSBW for the next 18 months, after which they are both guaranteed a role at the Port of Dover for the remainder of their 3-year apprenticeship.

Harry who is currently shadowing site engineers and, as well as getting to grips with the required paperwork, reports and requisitions said: “As an apprentice, I have the distinct advantage of ‘learning on the job’, which includes actively getting involved from the very start of each phase, such as assisting in concrete cube testing, carrying out risk assessments and even attending a sea survival course.”

In supporting the team onsite, Ismail has been focused on monitoring and reporting on data collated, to assist with problem solving. Ismail stated that: “Working with the team onsite has been invaluable, as they not only help me in understanding the tasks at hand, but are also mentoring me in how to progress and analyse the data. As my learning style is very visual, an apprenticeship is ideal for my overall development.”

Dave Herrod, Programme Director for DWDR at the Port of Dover, said:  “The Port is committed to investing in the employment opportunities that will give local young people the skills to take this key piece of national infrastructure and the Port more widely into the future.  Apprentices are a vital component to that aim.”


Notes to editors


  1. Port of Dover

The Dover Western Docks Revival (DWDR) is a one-off opportunity for the regeneration of Dover, bringing new investment into the area.  With UK Government planning approval and supported by a mix of private finance and European Union grant funding, DWDR will deliver:


  • A transformed waterfront to ultimately attract a host of shops, bars, cafes and restaurants with Dover's unique backdrop of the harbour, cliffs and castle;
  • Relocation and further development of the cargo business with a new cargo terminal and distribution centre;
  • Creation of greater space within the Eastern Docks for ferry traffic; and
  • Much needed quality employment opportunities for local people.


DWDR is the single biggest investment ever undertaken by the Port of Dover with c. £250m committed for its delivery.

DWDR scored ‘Excellent’ for the CEEQUAL Interim Client and Outline Design Award - the evidence-based sustainability assessment, rating and awards scheme that promotes the achievement of high environmental and social performance in civil engineering, infrastructure, landscaping and public realm projects.



  1. VSBW

VSBW is a joint venture between VolkerStevin and Boskalis Westminster to deliver the marine structures and bridge contract for the Port of Dover’s flagship Dover Western Docks Revival (DWDR) development.

With a contract value of £115m, this construction stage will include the design and build of two new berths including quay walls and land reclamation, a new marina pier, the marina curve, navigation channel and new lock gates, Bascule Bridge and capital dredging work.


  1. Pictures
  1. Ismail Gonul at the site offices, and;
  2. Harry Quested on site at the Wellington Dock Navigation Channel excavation.

Related photos

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