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Adam Patel

For the final day of National Apprenticeship week, we spoke to Adam Patel, who completed his apprenticeship with us last year – a year earlier than expected!

What apprenticeship did you undertake?

I completed my apprenticeship in quantity surveying towards the end of last year. It should have been a five-year part time course, but I crammed the last two years of my course into one year, so that I could finish my degree a year earlier.

What made you decide to do an apprenticeship?

After working within the business for a couple of months as a quantity surveyor, I was approached by senior management, and asked whether I would like to undertake my apprenticeship part time. It was something I had never really thought of before, but I am so glad that I was encouraged to do it. I have now been working at VolkerStevin for about four and half years, and not looked back since joining. It was a great opportunity for me to broaden my skills and knowledge, whilst still getting the hands-on experience of working within the industry.

How did VolkerStevin support you during your apprenticeship?

Initially it was my suggestion to try and fit the final two years of studies into one year, and VolkerStevin were very supportive of my decision, and did all that they could to help me. This included multiple meetings beforehand, to ensure I understood the challenges and commitment required to complete my degree in a years’ time, and what kind of additional support I would need from the business to do so. My colleagues made the necessary arrangements to move me into a different department, in an attempt to ease my workload – they did all that they could to ensure I had enough time and support to complete my University work, without comprising my day to day work in the office.

How did you find completing your degree in this way?

To be completely honest it was very hard, working full time whilst cramming in two years of a degree into one year was a real challenge. A challenge that has definitely paid off, as I graduated last year with a first-class Honours degree. I really couldn’t have done it without the support of my colleagues and the flexibility that VolkerStevin offered me.

What advice would you give to someone who is considering an apprenticeship?

Never think that you are too old to do an apprenticeship! When I enrolled on my course, I was 21 and already felt as though as I was starting too late, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. There were people of all ages and backgrounds, and it really opened my eyes that you are never too late to learn something new. The experience you get from working in the industry, whilst completing your degree, only enhances your learning – I couldn’t recommend it enough. 

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Emily Wilkinson

My name is Emily Wilkinson, and I’m currently completing the second year of my quantity surveying apprenticeship at VolkerStevin.

I joined VolkerStevin in September 2020, after being made redundant from my previous role at a different company. Whilst it didn’t feel like it at the time, it really was the biggest blessing in disguise, as I would have never found this opportunity at VolkerStevin if that hadn’t of happened. As I had already completed the first year of my studies before joining VolkerStevin, they supported me by rolling out the chartered accreditation and allowing me to carry on my course at Sheffield Hallam (rather than switching to a University that VolkerStevin usually works with). I was assigned an RICS contact within the business to mentor me and it really made the transition so much easier for me.

I’ve never worked in the construction industry before, so it was a little daunting to start with, but the support from my colleagues has made me feel so welcome and a valued member of the team. The induction week held at the head office in Preston for graduates and apprentices was a great way for me to connect with my colleagues across the business and after just my first week, I already felt as though I had a very strong network.

I have been with VolkerStevin for around 6 months now and have already been lucky enough to get involved with so many different sites and experiences – no two days are the same in this industry. The on the job experience has helped me so much with my studies! I learn things at work before I have even studied them at University, so I already feel ahead of the learning. I was toing and froing for ages about whether to complete a full-time degree or do an apprenticeship and I am so glad I went down this route. I’m a very hands-on type of learner and being able to see what you’re learning at University come to life on site really makes it easier to understand.

The culture within the business makes it such a great place to work, and I couldn’t recommend it enough. Despite my limited experience at this stage of my career, I am treated as an equal, my views are taken on board and I am always made to feel a valued and important part of the team. Having worked in other companies where this hasn’t necessarily been the case, it’s made a huge difference to me. Everyone I have worked with so far has been approachable and really encouraged me to take on new challenges and reach my goals, so I’m really looking forward to seeing how much I progress throughout the remainder of my apprenticeship.

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