A Degree Apprenticeship - two years on

Tim Dashwood
I am almost two years into completing the five-year degree apprentice scheme. I have been delivering across both building surveying and quantity surveying disciplines, supporting the wider delivery team and leading smaller educational schemes.

As I gained more exposure of Faithful+Gould’s wider services I realised I found building surveying to be more interesting, technical and fulfilling. I was easily able to make the transfer over into the Building Surveying team and joined a team of two incredibly supportive colleagues.

A typical week

I usually study on Mondays, as part of the apprenticeship, one day is for dedicated to completing my degree with the University College of Estate Management. During the remaining four days I am gaining experience on the job. Having a four-day working week can be challenging but I enjoy it. I can choose when to have my study day, and I am able to work flexibly to manage my time and workload to achieve deadlines.

I primarily have five – six projects on the go at the same time, this involves working out of the office during the week completing surveys, as well as having time within the office. My day to day responsibilities include programme management, pricing of architectural proposals, condition & measured surveys and more. There is a lot of diversity in the work I do, and I am constantly learning on the job. For example, I have recently been involved in preparing tenders and writing specifications.

Current projects

I work with local authority, school, academy and academy trust clients. During my apprenticeship I have gained client relation skills by learning from my colleagues. I am proud to have been given the responsibility key account manager on a £350k project with Torfield and Saxon Mount Academy Trust, Saxon Mount School. As the lead contact for the client, I provide updates and provide solutions to any concerns. This project has helped to build my confidence in my abilities to manage a project.

Team, growth and learning

I feel like an integral part of the team and have a proactive role, helping me to progress a lot in a short amount of time. Everyone in the company is approachable and I am easily able to ask for support from experienced colleagues. Recently I have been working side by side on my colleagues, shadowing and learning from them, increasing the depth of my knowledge. Working in the office, it doesn’t’ feel like a hierarchy, it’s all hands-on deck to work as a team to deliver within the project fee, to a high standard. I’m proud that even though I am at a junior level I am assisting in projects and people often ask me for insight on the projects I am working on.

How being a degree apprentice helps career progression

Coming from a non-construction background where no one in my immediate family works in the construction industry, this apprenticeship has been great. This apprenticeship provides me with a degree in construction technical skills, and key work experience. I have been learning on the go, taking a proactive role to learn any skills I would require for the role. For example, I have learned how to use Autodesk AutoCAD and for use in design proposals.

In my cohort I started my apprenticeship with three others in the south east region. We support each other even though we are learning different modules. At the end of the apprenticeship I will be able to complete my APC training. This training is intrinsic to the role, in that it is a standard which demonstrates I am technically competent and have the knowledge to carry out the work of a Chartered Surveyor.

I feel this apprenticeship has helped with my career as a result I want to give back to the community. I have been engaging local school children, and  careers fairs for Faithful+Gould demystifying stereotypes around apprenticeships and explaining the benefits of completing one.

There are a number of socials, clubs and societies which I can get involved in, everyone is friendly. For example, there is a climbing club we have recently begun playing football as an office. These have been great to socialise and get to know one another, and people outside of my team.

Future plans

I am starting at a good point, I am gaining grounding in as much as possible and understanding the business well. I would like to venture more into other areas of the service, become multidisciplinary and perhaps work on some heritage projects. There are key leaders in the field in the business I would love to work with.

Written by