Joining Faithful+Gould, a member of the SNC-Lavalin group, as an apprentice quantity surveyor, I knew that the challenges and learning experiences would give me a great start to my career. But I never expected that the journey would be so rewarding! Read on to find out more about the Apprenticeship Scheme, what a quantity surveyor actually does, and my accomplishments so far.
I had certain reservations about how much responsibility or trust I would be given as an apprentice. These concerns were totally unfounded when I arrived on day one and was encouraged to be actively involved in projects and tasks. Unlike a university course, an apprenticeship pays a salary. The fact that I’m getting paid has put me in a different mind-set, I’m doing a real job! And the business has encouraged me to innovate, listened to my ideas and made me feel as valued as any other member of the team. It’s also been a great way for me to work towards a qualification without having to cope with student debts when I finish.
About quantity surveying
For those of you who don’t know, a quantity surveyor manages all the costs that relate to building and engineering projects. It can be very varied, covering projects such as new builds, renovations or maintenance work. It’s also a very hands-on role where I work closely with a client to realise their vision, sending regular updates to them about how the project is progressing, as well as appointing contractors and making sure they’re paid. So now you know a bit more about quantity surveying, I’ll tell you what I’ve been doing during my course.
Getting things done better
When I began my apprenticeship, I was initially placed on a secondment within a regional water supply, sewerage and waste water group. During my time there, I worked closely with the team on their projects. And as I began understanding the methods and procedures, I started developing more efficient ways to approach tasks.
I developed a number of macros for the quantity surveying team, creating efficiencies in their processes and reducing the possibility of human error. The total estimated time savings for the team of four quantity surveyors are in the region of 120-180 working days per year. This means an increase in efficiency of 10%-20% from using the macros alone.
Another innovation that I’m proud of is helping with the manual amendment of hundreds of lines of payment. It’s a task that typically takes our in-house quantity surveyors around eight-hours to do. But by taking a different approach, I managed to reduce this time to just 30-minutes. For me, doing a good job is about being critical about client’s methods and proposing more efficient ways to work. Luckily Faithful+Gould encourages this sort of innovative thinking — and that’s why I love working here.
Networking means better working
Another project I’ve been involved in is the Generation for Change (G4C) committee for the Tees Valley. It’s a cross-industry, independent young professional movement which has allowed me to champion change and drive transformation, both within Faithful+Gould and the industry as a whole.
This involvement with G4C enabled me to organise valuable networking events where I got to meet loads of talented young professionals within the industry. Through this, I’ve developed long lasting professional relationships which now constitute the backbone of my professional network.
Highlights so far?
As well as my contributions to our water client, I’d say that another personal achievement is my passion for promoting the construction industry to young professionals. I do this by volunteering to organise network events for RICS Matrics and G4C, connecting like-minded individuals who have the potential to work with, or learn from each other in some way. It’s also a great way of encouraging collaboration across the construction industry.
For me, my career path as a quantity surveyor couldn’t have had a better start than through an apprenticeship. Faithful+Gould really does let me get a proper grounding by immersing me in real projects and interacting with colleagues who I can learn from.