Is a degree apprenticeship right for me?
Graduating degree apprenticeship student, Alex Hobson was awarded ‘The 2022 Dean’s Prize for Excellence in Surveying & Architectural Technology’. This prize is awarded to the graduate who has achieved the best performance overall across the Building Surveying, Quantity Surveying, Real Estate and Architectural Technology courses. He also achieved the highest dissertation mark across all the quantity surveying graduates.
We caught up with Alex to ask why he chose to study the BSc (Hons) Quantity Surveying degree apprenticeship.
Tell us a bit about yourself and why you chose to study a degree apprenticeship?
I didn’t want a job stuck behind the same desk all day every day, so was keen to look at opportunities where I could get out to different places and meet a variety of new people. After completing my A-levels at 6th form in maths and business, combined with an interest in construction, a role in quantity surveying seemed like a great fit. I started with Tilbury Douglas Construction Ltd seven years ago and enrolled on their apprenticeship scheme as an apprentice quantity surveyor. The apprenticeship route was a clear choice for me, it enabled me to get into the workplace while also having a plan in place to obtain my academic qualifications. The opportunity to earn a salary at the same time made the decision even easier. Since joining, I have completed my Level 3 BTEC, HNC and HND qualifications combined with a level 3 and level 5 NVQ. The chartered surveyor degree apprenticeship was the obvious next step in my progression and Leeds Beckett offered a great opportunity to enrol and complete the course.
How did you manage your work commitments and studying for your degree apprenticeship?
Managing my work and study commitments has been difficult but rewarding at the same time. Tilbury Douglas provide me with one day off the job training a week which allows me to attend lectures, seminars and also complete my coursework / exam revision. On these days I always kept my work phone and emails turned off to prevent any distractions so I could concentrate on my studies. Also, my colleagues and project team have been great in terms of appreciating my apprenticeship commitments, ensuring all key meetings and deadlines are arranged around my study day. Time management was key to keep up to various deadlines, using my spare time when necessary, but it has definitely been worth it. Due to the fast-paced nature of the course, it’s vital you keep on top of your course work to prevent things slipping. Therefore it was my priority to get ahead early in terms of watching pre-recorded lectures and reading key module documents.
What support have you had from your employer and the university?
I have received a great amount of support from both my employer and the university. They have provided me with the opportunity to develop my skills, knowledge and experience in both the workplace and academically. Being on the apprenticeship scheme has allowed me to gain the best of both worlds - I learn theory from the university modules which I then put it into practice in my day-to-day job. As I have progressed through my apprenticeship, I have been trusted with greater levels of responsibility, which has pushed my development even further. I have recently been promoted to a Quantity Surveyor role where I am now supported to manage my own projects and frameworks. I have also had regular meetings with the university to ensure that I am on track to achieve my end point assessment, whilst also offering guidance and assistance to check that I am getting the most out of the course.
What has been your favourite thing about your course at Leeds Beckett?
I have really enjoyed all the modules I completed throughout the course, they offered varied insights into different elements of the Quantity Surveying role, from contemporary issues within industry, economic modelling techniques and contract law. These also all presented different challenges with various assessment types, such as assignments, presentations and exams which kept the course interesting and engaging. Although it was a huge challenge, the dissertation module was also very enjoyable as this gave me the opportunity to complete a full research project which expanded my thoughts and skills in terms of approaching and looking at solutions towards a current issue within the construction industry.
What advice would you give someone thinking about studying a degree apprenticeship?
If you are interested in a career within the construction industry, investigate the various degree apprenticeship routes available. In my opinion, the combination of on the job and academic training is invaluable. As you are learning the role first-hand, I believe this puts you in a more favorable position when you graduate as you already have years of experience behind you which you can utilise to progress your career. I would also recommend that you do your research before committing to a course, speak to people who have previously completed different routes and fully understand the requirements of the end point assessment. This will help you decide if an apprenticeship is right for you and give you a greater understanding of the commitment it involves. As there are various options available, by doing this you may find one which is more suited to your job role compared to others, which will help when capturing your work-based experience.
What’s next for you?
Now that I have finished my degree, I am focusing on completing all the requirements of my end point assessment which involves sitting my Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) for the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. Work wise, I am currently closing out a scheme I have been working on for the past 18 months, building a new SEN school and supported housing block. The aim is to contribute towards its successful handover in the coming months before moving onto a new scheme towards the end of the year – the extension and refurbishment a low-secure mental health care building.
Visit our website to find out more about our degree apprenticeship opportunities.
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