Calum’s Apprenticeship Journey
After leaving secondary school I started with my A levels, but quickly realised that this style of learning didn’t suit my skill set. Eventually I was encouraged to look for a more practical way of learning such as an apprenticeship. As I already had an interest in construction and numbers, the logical path was to explore Quantity Surveying. I applied for the job via Peterborough Regional College and that’s where my career began after completing only 1 year of A levels.
I spend one day a week at college/university and 4 days a week working for Arctica. The general idea is to back up the theory I learn on mt day release with 4 days practical experience in a real working environment. There is no doubt that they complement each other by accelerating learning on and off the job.
My first project for Arctica was preparing a set of Tender Documents for one of our key clients. This is something that is an important part of my role. I work normal working hours, and complete various tasks with the guidance of my Mentor Lee. Being out on site and working in a “live” environment has enabled me to develop relationships with clients and other professionals working in the industry No two days are the same.
Independence, confidence, and all-round construction knowledge. The more you know about what you are building, the more you can help architects with their design. Being a quantity surveyor is not all about numbers. It is about being able to understand how a building works, identifying any potential issues in the design and the cost impact they may have. Construction knowledge is key to becoming a competent quantity surveyor.
There is a lot to learn by shadowing your professional colleagues around you, something that Arctica has supported from the start. Being a quantity surveyor can be ruthless but fair. I have witnessed my mentor Lee save the client a substantial amount of money during a negotiation where a contractor was not entitled to their financial claim.
Getting out on site and looking at the building in the construction phase is key to understanding the quantity surveyor role and is invaluable. If you don’t understand what you are measuring or costing you can’t do the job. Personally, I have been given the opportunity to work on several commercial construction sites outside of the office, which is where I have gained my construction knowledge.
I have a 1st Class BSc (Hons) in Quantity Surveying and Commercial Management alongside 7 years of work experience. The mentoring at Arctica has enabled me to be the lead quantity surveyor on numerous projects with access to professional advice whenever I needed it.
Once I become a member of RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) I plan to use my knowledge and skills and lead the quantity Surveying projects in the office!