Next Generation CAD Designer: My Journey

When you think about construction, what do you see? I myself have always grown up with a family who work in the construction industry around me. When I think back to childhood, riding along in the van of a father, a brother or an uncle – there was always this distinct image associated with the trade.

It was always the dusty boots in the porch, the tea stained mugs down at the fab shop and the high Vis/ newspaper combo propped up on the dash after a long day of labour. Now, where all these images I recall are true to me, are they true to the image of the construction industry?

I think back again, this time to leaving college. What am I going to do now? Still undecided; I took my chances at an open day where employers got to promote the apprenticeship schemes they had on offer. Here is where I met an enthused Daniel Leech – MD at TDS Midlands and creating partner in the CADCOE training facility. Dan quickly got me to realise my perspective on the industry wasn’t all that accurate and the industry was broad in professional careers. I had unearthed the foundations for future opportunity.

The job description of a ‘Design & Draughting Apprentice’ captured my interest, and a few interviews down the line I found myself at the gateway to a career in the world of architectural design and modelling in construction.

That very gateway was to be opened via a 16 week intensive training course provided by industry experts, in a relaxed yet professional working environment.

I must admit, I never truly knew what to expect. I think that is the way we all feel taking that first big post-education step – especially when entering a field that you don’t know a great deal about.

Thinking I had a tough ride ahead was my first mistake. Grasping the concepts of modelling architectural steelwork was made simple by the rich quality and depth of teaching from Lee Drummond (Academy Director & teacher at CADCOE). The foundations were beginning to pour in the form of applicable skills and knowledge.

All the learning is based around a car showroom project, whereby you developed the project from start to finish, including the structural frame and internal feature stair, amongst other elements required in the design. This helped me specifically develop the 2Dimensional modelling skills (both in structural and architectural sectors of the industry) which I needed to carry into my workplace.

Well, I have to say – it really worked! Despite a few nerves (which surely we can all be forgiven for), I began to perform with confidence and knowledge in the industry. The walls began to take shape.

I still had much to learn, don’t get me wrong, but not to be a burden on the senior members of staff felt great. From my very desk I got to draw and develop on a variety of projects using the 2D software I was trained upon, and before I knew – I had constructed the ground floor – it was time to move up to 3D.

3Dimensional modelling is helping shape the future of the construction industry. TDS Midlands and its collected team of staff have supported my growth since completing the training course – to the extent where I now manage, model and run my own projects. I have included an example of one of my recent projects which you could easily find yourself working on or even managing during the course of your apprenticeship. Let’s say this is hitting first floor.


After deciding against a lengthy university degree to try and get my foot in the door of a professional career, I am glad to have taken this opportunity to begin my career in architectural design & draughting. I have to credit how Lee and the team at CADCOE have helped me achieve a high level in such a short time period. Standing at first floor I think I will leave the roof out. The sky really is the limit when choosing the Construction And Design Centre Of Excellence.

By Kane Regan, Final Year Apprentice at TDS Midlands