Case study

Apprentice — Edward Thomson

An ambition to work in the building trade led Edward to apply for an apprenticeship with construction company Redrow. He's now heading to university to become a quantity surveyor

What qualifications do you have?

I have two A-levels in law and psychology and GCSE's in all the relevant subjects with grades ranging from A to C.

I also now hold a BTEC Level 3 in Construction in the Built Environment and an Edexcel Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Surveying, Property and Maintenance.

Why did you decide to do an apprenticeship?

I've always wanted to work in the building trade. I applied for a number of apprenticeships after leaving school - to no avail. After hearing about the opportunity at Redrow I decided to apply one last time. I secured an interview and was then offered the job.

How did you find and apply for your apprenticeship?

I learned about the apprenticeship through a family member who works for the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB). I sent my CV in to Redrow who held it on file for a couple of months and then entered it into the application process.

How does the apprenticeship work?

The apprenticeship lasted two years and during this time I worked full time with six 'block' weeks set aside for training for the BTEC qualification. Each training week would cover a different aspect of the apprenticeship. For example, the first week would be maths, the second would be measurement, the third would be tendering etc.

As an apprentice my responsibilities covered all aspects of quantity surveying work including tendering, payments, visiting sites, valuations and negotiating etc.

What did you enjoy about your apprenticeship?

I enjoyed watching a site turn from a derelict wasteland into a respectable housing estate. It was also interesting to see how all the work comes together and to discover what can go wrong when working on a project.

What did you find the most challenging?

Apart from the early mornings, the array of information that I had to absorb on a daily basis was a challenge. You need knowledge of lots of building trades and you then need to know how each trade links in with another. It's a huge learning curve that keeps getting bigger as you aim to fill the gaps in your knowledge.

What are your plans for after your apprenticeship?

I have ambitions to become a fully-qualified quantity surveyor. I plan to start university in September so I'll go from there.

What advice would give to others?

An apprenticeship is a fool-proof way of gaining qualifications and knowledge while getting paid to do a job. A good quality apprenticeship is worth every second of your time and can even fund your aspirations of university study.

The best advice I can give to anyone working towards an apprenticeship is to stick at it, after a few years, who knows where it will lead?

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