James Trumper, a sixth-generation member of the family-owned Neville Trust Group, explains why a vocational route into the industry could attract a new generation of talent
Undertaking a degree apprenticeship, that leads to becoming a fully qualified quantity surveyor, has been the right choice for my current needs and future plans.
Following in the footsteps of my great grandfather, great uncle and grandfather, I made the decision to attend the University of Westminster.
To me, the course offered the best of both worlds: a lecture hall environment at the university for the academic learning required for my degree, alongside the practical classroom of my everyday workplace, on or off-site.
As well as being able to put my theoretical learning into practice almost immediately, which gives me hands-on experience, I also earn a salary and end up with a degree without the burden of a student loan.
What I’m also realising is that employers are impressed that you can demonstrate direct experience of working in a business.
For employers, hiring an apprentice at all levels can be a productive, cost-effective way to expand or upskill their workforce. It provides a solution to short-term and long-term skills shortages.
More than a third of students believe they are less likely to reach the most senior position within a company if they do an apprenticeship. But there are signs that this misconception is on the turn
Employers can tap into a cohort of home-grown talent and a new generation of young and aspiring employees who are informed about the training and development options open to them and willing to access them.
There is also growing awareness of higher-level degree apprenticeships now being more widely offered by some universities and appreciated by employers.
As explained by audit and advisory firm BDO Global, apprenticeships are unfortunately still overlooked by young people.
More than half believe that the award of a university degree makes it easier to earn a higher salary, than if they were to take the apprenticeship route.
And more than a third of students believe they are less likely to reach the most senior position within a company if they do an apprenticeship.
But there are signs that this misconception is on the turn. Rising student debt and the cost-of-living crisis is prompting parents, students and schools to revisit the apprenticeship option – with favourable results.
As a degree-level apprentice, I attend university one day per week during term time, while also working in a salaried role.
In addition, I don’t incur tuition fees. Instead, they are paid for by my employer and the government, which means there is no need for a student loan.
Could there be a better route to a long-term career?
James Trumper is a quantity surveyor and commercial management trainee at Neville Special Projects, part of Neville Trust Group.