As I fast approached the end of my BSc in Geography at the University of Portsmouth, I was becoming tired of being asked time and time again whether I’d go into teaching. I had a good idea what I didn’t want to do, which included teaching, but little idea where my future would take me. The more I read about and observed the construction industry, the more it matched the profile of a job that I would enjoy; a diverse working environment, a range of different projects and the ability to see something physical be accomplished from your efforts.
Since I had graduated a year earlier and was working a supermarket job, I asked if I could join Faithful+Gould early to give myself a bit of a head start, deciding that learning on the job was the most efficient way to prepare myself for the graduate scheme that officially starts in September. At the time of writing, I have been working at Faithful+Gould for six months and what a journey it has already been. So far, I have managed to work on or assist on projects ranging in value from tens of thousands up to tens of millions, a lot of responsibility for someone who was new to the entire concept of quantity surveying just six months ago. I have seen myself don a high vis and hard hat to undertake a valuation at Richmond College’s new building, undertake cost analyses of tender returns, assist on a Stage Cost 2 plan for a school extension in Azerbaijan, produced my own pre-tender estimates for varying projects and much more, having just picked a up a couple of my own projects, with a little supervision.
During my interview process, a question I always asked interviewers was ‘what is your favourite thing about working for Faithful + Gould?’ Every single person that I asked gave the same response: ‘The people you work with’. Very quickly I have seen why this is the case. The support I have been offered has allowed me to progress as quickly as possible. The responsibility to undertake certain tasks so early in my career is something that I have thrived off.
I already feel that joining as ‘non-cognate’ has had few implications on what my day to day life is currently like in comparison to someone who may entered the industry slightly better equipped. Having recently picked up a couple of my own projects it is reassuring to know that I have a more senior colleague overseeing how I go about my work in case I encounter any hurdles. For example, I have had colleagues brief me before going into meetings with clients alone, making sure that I am prepared to answer any questions the client might have and sit in on a progress meeting or skype call with me to ensure that I can hold my ground, as well as just being there if I find myself stuck at any point. Additionally I can work alone knowing that any colleague, no matter who they are, will always take 5 minutes to answer a call and provide me with any support I need.
As with most quantity surveyors, I plan to work towards completing the RICS APC (Assessment of Professional Competence). As a non-cognate graduate, this requires me to complete a master’s degree in quantity surveying beforehand. Faithful+Gould have presented me with the opportunity to do this. I will work towards it one day a week at London South Bank University starting in September. Every week I am attending APC question and answer sessions with colleagues that are also currently working towards their APC. These alone are a great indicator of how quickly you can take information onboard, finding myself able to answer and understand more of the questions week on week, as well as picking up what seems like ten new acronyms every day.
In short, during my first six months at Faithful+Gould I have quickly forgotten my worries of joining what seemed to be a daunting industry with little previous experience and often wonder what I was worrying about. Taking this leap into the deep end could not have worked out any better and I look forward to finding out what the rest of my career has in store.