I am studying for a BSc (Hons) in Quantity Surveying at John Sisk & Son. The reason I chose an apprenticeship in Quantity Surveying (QS) is because I have always had an interest in the construction industry and feel the role would best suit me with the balance of being desk based and being out and about on site. In addition to this, I prefer a more hands on/on the job training style of learning which the apprenticeship offered. I have now been at John Sisk & Son a little over a year and a half and I am glad I made this decision.
The apprenticeship consists of a four year degree course at the University College of Estate Management (UCEM) followed by a further 6 months to be assessed in becoming a member of The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
My Apprentice Experience
During my first year and a half of the apprenticeship Quantity Surveying programme I have learnt a lot in a short space of time about the role of a Quantity Surveyor along with an ever-growing knowledge of the construction industry as a whole. This is down to being fully immersed in the job role as part of the Quantity Surveying team on a live building site where I am doing real work and contributing to a project. Here I am in regular correspondence with engineers, design team, site managers, project managers and a variety of trades. This has allowed me to improve my technical knowledge of how building work is carried out and solidifies what I am learning on the degree course. This is something that you just would not be able to experience when gaining a degree through a conventional university route.
Along with work on site, the apprenticeship course allows me to take one day a week from normal work to study for my degree. All lectures/webinars, resources and course material are on an online platform which is accessible at any time. This online platform also allows you to interact with lecturers and fellow students. I like the flexibility this brings for students to balance studying while actually working as a Quantity Surveyor.
During my study days I mainly watch webinars/lectures, carry out research and further reading and writing up assignments of which there are four per year. Within the third year of the apprenticeship I will get enrolled into RICS and start to complete my diary to demonstrate certain competencies to be ready for my APC assessment once I have graduated. This means I will become a member of the RICS much quicker than the traditional university route.
Advice for Aspiring Quantity Surveyors
My advice to anyone thinking of choosing to pursue a Quantity Surveying degree via an apprenticeship route would be to go for it. The amount of real life experience really does give a head start to your career to become a fully competent Quantity Surveyor due to the vast amount of experience and contacts you will make over the course. In addition, getting auto–enrolled into the RICS within the programme allows you to receive valuable support from both the university and employer to ensure you complete the assessment to the best of your ability. This route does require a lot of self-motivation and may not have all the aspects of the traditional university route. However, in my opinion it does give a better foundation to build a successful career within a company who have invested in you. Finally, for me, the biggest advantages of this route is that you are being paid whilst actually doing the job you are training in and will come out of the apprenticeship with a degree, chartered status and no university debt.