23 February 2021

Quantity Surveyor Charlie learns on the job while gaining an Apprenticeship BSC

To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, 19-year-old Charlie Wright who is just four months into his Apprenticeship BSc (Hons) in Construction Management and Quantity Surveying, tells us he chose to become a Quantity Surveyor (QS) and what he’s been learning while working on SEGRO Logistics Park Northampton.

“Lots of my family work in construction so choosing a career in the industry was always of interest to me. I liked the idea of working on a big project and seeing it through from start to finish, but I really didn’t know what kind of role I would be suited to until I did some work experience with my uncle and saw him writing up quotes. This, alongside studying for a Level 3 extended diploma in Construction and the Built Environment at Moulton College, helped me understand the different jobs that related to the measurements and finance side of things. I had always been good at maths, so it became a natural fit to move towards quantity surveying. My family had always told me that learning on the job was the best route to take in construction so when it came to choosing a degree, getting an apprenticeship place was my goal. Now I’m doing it, I couldn’t agree with them more. My uncle used to work at Winvic so this is how I learned about the company, and so far I’ve loved every day.

“I started my role at the beginning of October 2020 and my time until Christmas was spent working closely – over video calls, of course – with David Simpson who is my mentor and a surveying director. I was unsure at first, but I have to say that everyone I’ve come into contact with has made me feel very comfortable. I guess they remember what it’s like to be new on the job, and they have been very good at giving me constructive feedback in a positive way so that I can quickly learn and improve. I had to do lots of practice tasks on projects that have already been completed, so then my work could be compared to the real numbers and I could understand what I’d done correctly as well as any errors that I’d made. My first uni term was definitely a steep, but enjoyable, learning curve. It was exciting to be told after Christmas that they were impressed with my work and that I was ready to move on to a live project – SEGRO Logistics Park Northampton.

“This contract is for civils and infrastructure works at a 450-acre multi-modal logistics hub. We’re delivering various earthworks, civils and structural works in preparation for 5 million sq ft of industrial warehouses, highways works, like upgrading two M1 junctions, and constructing a Strategic Rail Freight Interchange (SRFI). Therefore, over the last six weeks or so I’ve been involved with a few different groundworks packages, such as site clearance, drainage, surfacing and footways. The site team provide the drawings, I extract the right measurements and once my work has been checked I can liaise with subcontractors to obtain costings. One of my university modules called Measurement and Cost has immediately been relatable to the work I’ve been doing, and the dual classroom and practical approach has made it much easier for me to take in. My degree encompasses construction management as well as quantity surveying, so my other current modules are Architectural Science, which is all about smart systems in buildings designed for human comfort, and Fundamentals of Construction Practice, which is taking us step-by-step through the programme of a structure’s build.

“It’s all very interesting and I enjoy my studies and job, but I also can’t wait to be able to get on to site, measure things for myself and see the project’s progression. It’s been a strange time for everyone but in one way it hasn’t at all impacted me and my role. I stay in contact with the project and senior project QSs all the time with video calls and I feel completely supported. Winvic gave me a new office chair and a monitor so I have everything I need. I have a long way to go before I complete my Apprenticeship Degree, but later in my career I would definitely like to become a manager. I’d like to be helpful to young people starting out, as the way I am being encouraged and taught means everything to me.”

Charlie Wright

Trainee Quantity Surveyor