Trainee Development Programme: Building Surveying

Monika Whetstone
As a Building Surveyor in the Midlands, I began my career with a Faithful+Gould gifted and talented student taster day at my school.

I’m on Faithful+Gould’s structured trainee development programme, where I get a broad range of experiences in my building surveying role, with sponsored university attendance.

I had never heard of building surveying but it caught my interest when Faithful+Gould came to Trinity School in 2010 where I was doing my ‘A’ levels, to offer a student taster day. These days allow students to explore the construction industry and get a taste of what building surveying, quantity surveying, project management, asset management and design services are all about.

I wanted to know more and I got the chance to shadow some of the building surveying team, including a site visit. I could see myself enjoying the work, and I was impressed with the future career prospects in the organisation, so I applied and was delighted to get the job.

Coming straight from school, with no experience of a business environment, it took time to settle and find my confidence. But the team here in Nottingham have been very helpful and they give me a lot of support and guidance.

Two and half years later, I’m now comfortable in the professional environment and I’ve taken it a step further by getting involved locally with the RICS matrics committee and the Forum for the Built Environment young professionals’ Forum for Tomorrow. Both offer good networking and training opportunities.

My employment is a great example of the way that organisations can work together to invest in the future through effective training of young people. My Faithful+Gould training package is also affiliated to the Tesco property apprenticeship trainee scheme. This scheme contributes to my sponsorship and I’m currently seconded to Tesco for 12 weeks, where I’m carrying out fire risk assessments. I recently qualified as a fire risk assessor, so this project is another good opportunity to consolidate my experience.

I’ve been exposed to a range of building surveying projects. Recently I’ve been working with local schools, via Faithful+Gould’s partnership with Scape professional services framework. I’ve gained experience in writing specifications, and I’ve become much more confident in dealing with clients and contractors. As part of our relationship with Scape, Faithful+Gould is expected to contribute local, social and economic community benefits. This is a perfect chance for me to give something back by encouraging other young people, so I’ve been involved in student days held at our Nottingham office.

We provide presentations and a programme of practical activities to engage the students and show them what kind of talent and skills we need in the construction industry. I’m able to tell them that I joined Faithful+Gould as a local school leaver and am now having a really positive training experience.

I am studying on day release at Sheffield Hallam University, where I initially completed the HNC, giving me admission to the third year of the part time five-year building surveying degree course.

I’m thoroughly enjoying this alternative to full-time university study. I obviously don’t get the same student experience as some of my friends – I don’t have so much time for partying! I have to be organised and time-efficient to study and work. I often spend weekends in the peace and quiet of the office, doing my coursework, and using the great resources available.

But I feel like I’ve made a smart choice. I’m just 21 and I’m getting a lot of varied experience in a very supportive environment, with a salary, my university tuition fees paid and an excellent range of training benefits. It feels like a great start to my career and I would recommend this route to anyone prepared to work hard and seize the opportunities.

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