Our final interview is with Rhiannon, who shows the academic route is only one part of learning about the industry.
What is your role at BG?
Apprentice Building Surveyor in the education sector.
What made you want to take the apprenticeship route?
I always believe that there is only so much you can learn from a book. In the industry we are in, to see something through a picture is very different to seeing it in person and to have a full grasp of the material or process. You must be able to apply it to a real life job, not just scenarios taught in lectures. To build good communication skills is not something you can learn from reading books, it is something you must learn and use every day. Good communication towards the client is vital to a successful relationship throughout the project and to have 5 years’ experience of this skill before even becoming chartered is such a large step forward compared to people who attend full time university who have not had previous in the work place experience.
A clear plus side is the lack of university debt which means I will come out with a degree, and chartership as this is my chosen course path, with no financial debt to be paying off each month.
What does your day at work typically look like?
The day usually starts with me checking my calendar as I am walking into the office so I know what I need to be doing and at what time. Followed by responding to emails from ones sent while I was logged off due to the weekend, or my day at university. I will then talk to a colleague about any work that needs doing more urgently than the work in my calendar. This is then followed by a range of tasks that I carry out ranging from AutoCad floor plans to helping assist with specifications to valuations needing to be sent to clients and contractors. This is often how I spend 3 days out of the 5 working days. I spend 1 day at London south bank university and the other 1 day most likely visiting a site followed by carrying out the site visit report.
What is it like working with other members of your team?
I feel like I could ask anyone in my team for assistance on a task and none of them would refuse or get annoyed that I did not understand. I have only been an apprentice for 5 months so far and for these past few months, they have all been very welcoming and understanding. Being a female and going into a predominately male sector seemed a bit daunting to begin with but I have not felt at any point, that my gender has made me any less important in my team. The ever growing number of females in Baily Garner is very encouraging to see.
Is there anything interesting you have learned since starting your apprenticeship?
I have learnt so many different formulas on excel which makes using excel so much quicker and made me realise how useful it is. Before working here, I would use word and PowerPoint only, while doing any calculations on a calculator. I now use excel everyday as not only to fill out the required documents for clients but also as an everyday calculator.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to become an apprentice?
Do it. I have not had any doubts since starting this apprenticeship about whether this was the right choice or not. I have made a group of friends at university who are also apprentices, so we all finish work at the same time and meet up every so often while also attending social events at Baily Garner. My social life hasn’t come to a pause since working as an apprentice and this one of my biggest concerns that would make me regret not going full time university but it hasn’t come to a pause at all. Weekends are always free to meet up with friends or have a chill relaxing weekend.
To find out more about a career at Baily Garner click here.