Aeryn highlights the importance of knowing on-topic information to make your application stand out, the numerous qualifications you can get from your apprenticeship and the importance of networking.
Working in the industry and networking
"There are many benefits to completing your degree as an apprenticeship. The main one, I believe, is the amount of added value you get from working in the industry while doing your degree. Modules become a lot easier when you already know how it applies to work.
"The joy of apprenticeships is that it doesn’t cost you anything! You get paid to do it. Your employer will fund your degree, and so you won’t need to get a student loan for that, meaning you finish your degree debt-free and with a decent salary too.
"Networking is also a great benefit of doing a degree apprenticeship. You will meet many people during your training, both at university and at work. Networking with these people will be a crucial part of your future success.
"The construction industry is tiny, so working with people you may have met at university years down the line is not uncommon. The number of people that you meet and get talking with at work will automatically boost your confidence."
Impressing employers and tips to succeed
"When applying for a quantity surveying degree apprenticeship, remember that employers tend to want to know how interested you are in becoming a chartered quantity surveyor – they want to know you will be dedicated and go through all the necessary training. They may ask you about what you know about RICS and quantity surveying in general. I applied for my apprenticeship after already doing the first year of my degree full time, so they asked me about the modules I had already completed at university.
"Most companies will have a generic application form and maybe some questions about quantity surveying in general. They want to know that you know what quantity surveying involves and aren’t just applying for the apprenticeship just for the salary – more people do this than you think.
"Suppose you can give extended written answers to questions. In that case, you want to use these to convince the company that you know what you’re talking about. Try to throw in some information about the RICS chartership."
Top tip! Employers get a lot of applications for a single apprenticeship place, so keep answers as concise but detailed as possible.
"The only challenge I face with my apprenticeship is balancing university assignment work and my day job work. It can be hard doing a full day of work and then having to carry on doing university work and even using the weekends for university assignments. However, once you’ve got that balance worked out, it can be easy to make sure you’re covering all bases and getting your assignments done at a suitable time before the deadline."
Why a degree apprenticeship was right for me
"Coming from someone who had no experience of the construction industry before beginning my degree and doing my first-year full time, I can hand on heart say that doing the degree as an apprenticeship compared with full time is a lot easier.
"The experience you gain at work helps aid your understanding of the theory you do at university and vice versa. As you’re working in the industry, you will be surrounded by people that have likely been in the industry for years. So the knowledge you absorb from your work colleagues will make all the difference.
"Getting my apprenticeship and carrying on with my degree part-time allowed me to develop my confidence at work. This has helped me in both my work life and personal life. I feel that doing a degree apprenticeship has boosted my confidence massively."
My advice: Always keep track and make notes of the work you’re doing, so years down the line, you can look at that list and realise what a fantastic job you’re doing and what a difference you’re making.
"My quantity surveying degree apprenticeship means that I have a five day working week. I spend one of these days at university and the other four days working for my employer. Your university day will involve studying two modules a semester, so you will likely have two lectures and two seminars in a day.
"You have all the assessments a traditional student would have, but you’re also gaining relevant experience during the other four days of the week, which a full-time student wouldn’t. I found that the extra experience you gain at work helps endlessly with your university modules. You can often apply what you learn to the work you do straight away.
"Upon completing my degree apprenticeship I will graduate with a BSc Hons in Quantity Surveying. Birmingham City University will also enter me into, and pay for, the RICS 24 month APC - assessment of professional competence."
What is the RICS 24 month APC? This is a structured training pathway to put you on track to completing your APC and gaining RICS Chartership the same year you graduate or just after.