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Apprentice Survival Tip: "Make the most of being able to see it happen"

National Apprenticeship Week 2015
14th March 2016

Apprentice Survival Tip: Make the most of being able to see it happen

Apprenticeship Survival Tip

Culture shock

I’ve noticed big differences between school and the working world. Now I’ve got more independence and responsibility; I’m trusted to do my job, but if something goes wrong I have to take responsibility for that as well, so it’s been a steep learning curve. I’ve really developed my people skills, built relationships and managed different situations I hadn’t faced before in education.

At school I always liked maths, but sport was my passion. I wanted to be a PE teacher and my plan was to train to do that at university. When I was at school I had to do two weeks work experience which was compulsory, and chose to do it at Interserve. I really enjoyed this period and in a short space of time it had completely changed my career ambitions. Now my interests lie around construction – I always find myself looking at buildings when I walk around and think about how they were put together.

Work, Earn and Learn

I love being an apprentice because I can work, earn and learn, and I have a very clear career pathway early on. I’m learning from the best people in an environment where I can see theory put into practice; I believe that there is only so much that classroom learning can teach you, so I’m a big advocate for this element of the course.

I’m part of an Interserve internal business network called the South West Young Professionals (SWYP) that meets every quarter. This is really helpful as I can meet peers on similar schemes and can socialise as well. It’s also nice having the support framework there if I’m struggling with anything work-wise.

My goal, once fully qualified, is to continue working my way up the ladder with Interserve and receive chartered status from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Experience so far

My biggest achievement so far has been completing my first block of college assignments. I had to work away in Leicestershire for five weeks and had to adapt to being a student. There are 23 apprentices in England who are doing the course, which is the new way the apprenticeship is being undertaken. Previously the arrangement would be apprentices spend a day or two a week in college and the remaining days on site. With the new scheme it is much more broken up with several weeks spent on site, followed by a block of time spent at college. I’m proud of finishing my projects and made some friends from across the UK who are also in my position.

My favourite part of the job is liaising with sub-contractors and negotiating with them to get the best price for the package they are offering. This is exciting and challenging, and I’ve successfully negotiated floor finishes, wall partitions, suspended ceilings and others for the Torbay Hospital project already.

Thomas Masters has worked at Interserve since September 2015 as an Apprentice Quantity Surveyor for the Torbay Hospital project in Devon

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