Bradley Causton - Cost Management with AECOM

Bradley Causton

Team: Cost Management – Quantity Surveying

Office: Aldgate Tower

Apprenticeship Level: 6

Studying: Quantity Surveying BSc (Hons), University College of Estate Management (UCEM)

Hi, I’m Bradley and I work within the Engineering Services team at AECOM in our Aldgate Tower office. Alongside my work I’m studying a level 6 Chartered degree apprenticeship in Quantity Surveying at the University College of Estate Management.

What does your role entail?

My role involves various tasks that are crucial to the overall costing of projects. These tasks include: measurement from drawings, pricing elements, producing cost plans, benchmarking cost data and quality assurance. I have also attended site visits and meetings, written reports and contracts, performed valuations and contributed to articles published in recognised magazines such as the CIBSE Journal.

What has been your favourite project?

Over the duration of my first year at AECOM, I have worked on a huge variety of projects, where I have undertaken all the above tasks. These projects have varied from residential blocks, office spaces, Hospitals, Government buildings and Transport links. One of the most prominent projects that I have been involved in is HS2, where I had the opportunity to develop my knowledge in the utilities area. The majority of the work consisted of producing estimates for utility diversions including Gas, Water, Electricity and Comms networks. Another area that I have enjoyed working in is retail developments, where I have completed measurement exercises and costing on numerous stores around Europe. An example of some of the projects include flagship retail stores in Milan, Zurich and Berlin and the John Lewis store refurbishment in Peterborough. As well as this, I have worked on an AECOM publication called SPONS, which is a series of price books containing cost data for the UK Construction Industry.

Why did you choose AECOM?

AECOM appealed to me due to the scale of the organisation and the fact that it has multiple disciplines including: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying, Project Management and Sustainability. Therefore, I have been able to develop a broad expanse of knowledge in these areas which impact the projects that I work on. For example, when working on a project requiring Air Source Heat Pumps, I was able to liaise with the Engineers on the floors below Cost Management and speak to the Designers about how they can be incorporated into existing buildings. Also, the apprenticeship scheme is very well structured and I feel well supported within my team. I have been able to work alongside directors who have a breadth of knowledge and experience that they are willing to share with the apprentices.

What development support have you achieved on the apprentice programme?

I feel that the development support is brilliant. As part of the development programme, I have had multiple trips to Birmingham for presentations and team-building events. These have been excellent for developing my confidence and learning very useful presentation skills. Through these events, there is the chance to meet other AECOM colleagues from offices across the UK and Ireland. Also, I had the privilege of going on a 5-day trip to Cumbria (Outward Bound), where I engaged in character-building activities including canoeing, abseiling and rock climbing. I did not envisage this opportunity when I started my apprenticeship, but it has made a huge impact on my approach to tasks and my confidence in unfamiliar environments. This is an element that other competitors would not offer as part of the apprenticeship, which puts AECOM at the top in my eyes. Further to this, a personal mentor was assigned to me, where I have regular 1-2-1 meetings and reviews that are focused on my wellbeing and my progress.

What is the working environment like at AECOM?

The work environment is excellent and I thoroughly enjoy the whole working experience. There is a community atmosphere in the office, where everybody is willing to help. When I first started, I was made to feel very welcome and was personally introduced to every member of the team. I feel very comfortable when I need to ask questions and feel that everybody has time for the apprentices. The office space is very pleasant to work in, where the environment is contemporary. The 7th floor has football tables and a table tennis table; plus, there are rocking chairs on the 10th floor that look over London too!

What is the social scene like at AECOM?

Working at AECOM enables me to participate in organised social events that I have thoroughly enjoyed. Some examples of these events include: an Aldgate Tower Summer party, attending sports events such as Darts at Alexandra Palace, social games including Flight club and Shuffle club, and monthly curry nights. As well as this, the Sports & Social club arranged a Table Tennis competition which was fun and gave me the chance to network with colleagues from other teams in the business. Further to this, there is a group called the Aldgate London Early Careers Society (ALECS), who organise networking events for Apprentices and Graduates based at the Aldgate tower office. These have been very beneficial and are a fun way to introduce yourself to fellow apprentices who may also be on the same pathway. Some of these events include a networking evening with a presentation from the UKI CEO, plus a pub quiz at the Leman Street Tavern which is a local pub to Aldgate Tower.

How are you finding the academic side of the Apprenticeship compared to sixth form?

At AECOM, a designated weekly study day is assigned to each apprentice which allows you to complete your studies. My colleagues are very understanding of the importance of this time and ensure that I have enough study time each week. Compared to sixth form, I find that the workload has increased slightly as my course is mainly coursework-based. However, the work that I do on a day-to-day basis assists me in understanding some of the modules within my course. Also, there are a lot of apprentices within the Engineering Services team at different stages of the course. Therefore, I always have a point of contact to help me with my studies and answer any queries that I have along the way.

Have you had the opportunity to be involved in any Corporate Social Responsibility activities?

I have been involved in several charitable events that form part of AECOM’s CSR. An example of these was an annual sponsored walk carried out by the whole Engineering Services team in memory of a member of staff. We also raised money for the British Liver Trust with a cake sale with cakes baked by members of the team. I thoroughly enjoyed these events and the participation of every member of the team was excellent, especially as it was for a good cause. Further to this, I have also been chosen for shadowing with apprentices, where a student from the YMCA had a taster of what we do at AECOM in different areas of the industry in aid of her decision to join an apprenticeship scheme in the business.

What would your advice be for a current sixth form student deciding between an Apprenticeship or University?

I would personally encourage every sixth form student to consider the apprenticeship scheme offered at AECOM as it has honestly been the best decision that I have ever made. From when I first started at AECOM, I have not looked back and I am learning the industry in the best place. The structure of the course gives you a better understanding of what you learn and the experience that you gain as you learn is priceless. I feel that this route gives you the best possible start in the industry.

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