Ellie Fraser, 22, was studying a psychology degree when she realised university wasn’t for her and left. After assessing her options she came across a Business Administration apprenticeship with Esh Group, and has now transitioned into a trainee quantity surveyor role.
Ellie, from Newton Aycliffe, explained: “I didn’t enjoy university but at the same time I knew I didn’t just want to get any old job – so I had to look at my options. I found the apprenticeship with Esh via the North East England Chamber of Commerce, and decided to apply. It attracted me because I knew I could keep learning while gaining experience.”
Ellie was successful and began working in Esh Group’s training department – supporting the team with admin tasks. Soon she had assumed more responsibility and became heavily involved in Esh’s recruitment of apprentices – helping to run recruitment events, interviews and induction processes. The experience brought her into contact with different specialists from across Esh Group’s broad range of construction disciplines and at the same time she earned a Level 3 Business Administration qualification.
Ellie explained: “I was working with a lot of the commercial teams and finding out what they do on a daily basis. It really interested me and I realised that getting involved in quantity surveying could be a great route to other jobs in the construction industry. So, I applied for another apprenticeship at Esh – this time in Built Environment – and went through the application process like everyone else.”
In September this year Ellie embarked on the apprenticeship via Durham New College, and now works in Esh Group’s civil engineering business, Lumsden and Carroll. She spends one day a week at the college and the rest of the time working under a qualified quantity surveyor. Ellie will study for two years – all the time accruing experience from her mentor – and will earn an Advanced Apprenticeship before she goes on to become a qualified quantity surveyor.
Whilst Ellie is the only woman in her class at college, Lumsden & Carroll employs other female apprentice quantity surveyors, one of whom started a degree apprenticeship in quantity surveying this year. With its commitment to equality and diversity, one of Esh Group’s driving ambitions is to encourage more women into the construction sector. There are 116 apprentices in Esh Group – a total of 11 per cent of the workforce – and in 2016/17 74 per cent of apprentices moved into full time roles.
I'm involved in managing the costs and materials for Esh Group projects, which means I get to see them through from start to finish, which is satisfying. It's a really technical role and I love the variety it gives me. It was great to get the initial experience in Business Administration but now this is a bigger challenge for me, which is what I like. I looking forward to all the opportunities this will lead on to it.