Case study

Apprentice quantity surveyor — Emily McNeice

Emily is studying towards a degree apprenticeship in Construction and Built Environment (Quantity Surveying) with Miller Homes and Glasgow Caledonian University

Why did you decide to do an apprenticeship?

When I finished school I knew I wanted to do something more hands-on than sitting in a lecture room. I had a look around at the options available to me and found that an apprenticeship was the best route to getting experience in the construction sector. I liked the idea that I could work while I studied.

While exploring options with my school's careers adviser, I found the Miller Homes quantity surveying scheme, which seemed perfect for me because I enjoyed maths and physics.

Describe your apprenticeship in five words…

  • hands-on
  • interesting
  • challenging
  • hard work
  • rewarding.

How does the apprenticeship work?

I am on a four-year course at Glasgow Caledonian University. I spend four days with Miller Homes, learning the ins-and-outs of what a quantity surveyor does, and one day at university exploring the theory related to building and civil engineering projects.

My work with Miller Homes is mainly office-based, helping the surveyors and buyers purchase materials and secure subcontractors, but I also get to visit sites with surveyors to assess the progress of our various developments.

How have Miller Homes supported you?

Sometimes I find it difficult to understand some of the theory I learn at university, and the team at Miller Homes have been brilliant at helping me translate and work through it. I always know that if I am struggling with a certain topic or question, I can turn to the team for advice and support.

What part of your job gives you the most satisfaction and what are the challenges?

I'm a very sociable person, and I love being around people so my favourite part of the job is speaking to development teams and handling sub-contractors.

Learning how to balance work and study has been the hardest part so far, especially around exam times.

While the work can bring challenges, I always want to overcome them because I find it so interesting.

What are your plans after your apprenticeship?

I plan to stay with Miller Homes and work my way up to become a professional and certified quantity surveyor.

I also want to travel in the future, so I'm looking forward to seeing how I can balance this with work.

Any advice for those considering an apprenticeship?

  • Keep up with your university work. You may only be there one day a week, but keep your focus and don't let it slide. If you keep on top of your assignments, reading and projects you won't have to panic later.
  • Never feel like you have to do everything on your own. There are always people around who can help - whether it's your colleagues and managers, or lecturers and other students.
  • Always ask questions. If you don't understand a topic or you want to learn more about a certain subject, ask because it will help you in the long run.

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