Gaining practical experience while studying can give apprentices invaluable insight into the construction industry. Here, assistant quantity surveyor Luke Rabone shares his experience of McCoy Contractors‘ apprenticeship programme
What attracted you to the construction industry?
I come from a family of construction workers, which is where my initial interest began. From this, I was exposed to the different opportunities and roles available, along with the knowledge that the construction industry is ever growing with huge potential for career progression.
I live locally to McCoy Contractors in Solihull and I had seen several of their construction sites across Birmingham and Coventry.
After looking at their website and social media platforms, I made contact with their apprenticeship liaison, Amy Fullaway, who then organised an interview for a technical apprenticeship post, where I highlighted my interest in quantity surveying.
What is a typical day in your apprenticeship?
Throughout the course of my apprenticeship, I have been given the opportunity to work both in the office and on site. As I am now nearing the end of my apprenticeship, having just completed my degree, I have chosen to undertake the role on a hybrid basis.
Gaining experience both on site and in the office allows me to have the best insight into quantity surveying.
During my first year in the role of assistant quantity surveyor, I have been involved in many prestigious schemes across the Midlands.
My role within these schemes progressed from feasibility, through to pre-construction, construction and post-completion.
This entailed liaising with clients to identify their requirements, estimating quantities, costs and timescales for material and labour, followed by assigning work to subcontractors.
Being confident and a good communicator is really important. But equally, you need to be able to manage your time well to meet deadlines and be adept at problem solving
What skills and attributes do you need for your role?
Being confident and a good communicator is really important. But equally, you need to be able to manage your time well to meet deadlines and be adept at problem solving.
Excel is a useful tool for an apprentice quantity surveyor – it really helps me manage the information I need.
I have also discovered that being a good, balanced negotiator helps to build relationships and manage projects.
What are you enjoying most about working in the industry?
The best thing about my job is that every day is different and I am able to split my days between being out on site and then in the head office.
I also enjoy working as part of a team to ensure each project is delivered in line with the client’s budget.
My mentor Chris Haughey, McCoy Contractors’ managing director, has been a strong influence and great role model throughout my apprenticeship and has provided me with help and guidance.
What is the most challenging aspect of your apprenticeship?
I had to be extremely committed, with a focus on good time management, to ensure that I planned ahead for assignment dates. There is always plenty to do and I had to make sure that as well as my day-to-day activities, I set aside time for studying.
I would recommend this route to anyone interested as it is very rewarding and you are able to get paid while learning.
With a mentor like Chris, you also get to learn so much more than you would in a classroom.
What are your long-term career goals?
I would like to progress through to quantity surveyor, senior quantity surveyor and commercial manager, then one day have my own team of quantity surveyors.