Quantity Surveying student, Charlie Seargent, is settling into life as a Trainee Quantity Surveyor at Esh Construction as his placement year from university gets underway.
Aged 23 from Skelmanthorpe in Huddersfield, Charlie is studying BSc (Hons) Quantity Surveying at Huddersfield University. After completing his second year at university, he has recently joined Esh to complete a year-long placement to gain experience in the industry and enhance his studies.
Charlie is working within Esh’s civil engineering division and initially started work on a scheme known as Bellows Road in Rotherham. Since then, he has transitioned into working on the Newstead Enabling Works scheme in Sheffield.
Charlie’s mentor is senior quantity surveyor, Matthew Roulson, he said: “ Since starting his placement in September, Charlie has made great progress in learning and undertaking the responsibilities of the quantity surveying role. He has settled into the team with ease and is always keen to learn from every opportunity presented to him.
“As we look to commence a number of schemes in to 2023, I’m confident Charlie will gain a wealth of experience to aid the remainder of his studies and give him the foundation upon which to build his career.
“We are already looking to take on another quantity surveying placement student in 2023 and have expanded this to recruit a civil engineering role also. This is testament to Charlie and the positive impact he has had on the civil engineering division”
We recently caught up with Charlie to hear about his experience so far.
What is your background before university and your time at Esh?
I have done a few different things after I finished school; I went to Barnsley College to study a BTEC qualification in Sport Science alongside playing football. After I finished college, I went to Manchester University and studied sports nutrition for a year, however I didn’t enjoy it and didn’t want to pursue it as a career. Instead, I left university and joined BT Openreach as a Trainee Engineer – I qualified after a year and worked at the company for two years. I didn’t particularly enjoy the job and fancied a change though. I had thought about becoming a quantity surveyor a few years before, so I took the chance to go back to university and study quantity surveying.
What made you want to be a Quantity Surveyor?
My dad owns a joinery and glazing company, I have worked there part time in the past so gained some experience within the industry. Throughout this time I heard of different roles and found quantity surveying quite interesting.
How did you find out about this work placement?
University introduced us to the idea of doing a placement year and I liked the idea of this to gain experience in the industry. I got in contact with the university’s placement team, and they helped enhance my CV and helped me write a cover letter. I then searched the internet and looked at job sites, applying for the ones I thought would suit me. I applied for quite a few placements and sometimes you don’t hear anything back. I got an interview here at Esh Group and found out I was successful.
How are you finding your placement so far?
I am really enjoying the placement so far. I feel like some of the things I have learnt on the job I would never have learnt at university. Learning in a classroom is very different to what you learn on the job, it feels like I’m really learning about the role of a quantity surveyor here.
What have you been working on since you started?
I started at Bellows Road Junction in Rotherham, which involved the improvement and reconfiguration of a key route in to the town centre. However, the job has now completed so I am now working on the Newstead Enabling Works scheme in Sheffield, where I am working alongside Project Manager, Joe Heptinstall, to learn about site management and site engineering. I’m also shadowing different individuals in the business to get a general understanding and experience of the sector, such as spending time with our Estimator, Steve Horner, and our Planning Manager, Chris Timms. I’m really happy with this approach because it will give me more experience of the company and wider job roles.
What activities has your role included?
On site visits I have participated in different tasks that I wouldn’t have done at university. One visit I was measuring the kerbs and an entranceway to work out the materials needed for the job. I then observed the final surfacing to understand what goes into this job and finishing the scheme off.
While working with the estimator, I’ve been measuring drawings on Autodesk to understand quantities needed. When I am not on site, amongst other things, I have been working on administering compensation events, early warnings, payments and liabilities. I am liaising with clients and sub-contractors regarding general queries too.
I have also been attending training courses and webinars which give me some background on construction processes and contracts, in particular the NEC.
What would your message be to students thinking of taking a placement year?
I’d advise anyone to give it a go, you gain so much experience that you wouldn’t obtain at university. When you start working, you realise there is so much more to the job than just the education side. Everything I’ve done at university has been build-related, whereas I’m working on civil engineering schemes, so it’s very different.
The stereotypical view of construction, when you don’t have much knowledge of the industry, is that it’s just working on a site or working in a house, like a ‘getting dirty and manual job’. But, there are so many other roles, you could be both site and office based in a different profession and not just trade based. In the time I’ve been at my placement I’ve looked at so many different roles, and that’s just in one part of one company.
Esh Construction is now recruiting year-long placements for 2023, to find out more and apply, visit Vacancies | Esh Group
Since starting his placement in September, Charlie has made great progress in learning and undertaking the responsibilities of the quantity surveying role. He has settled into the team with ease and is always keen to learn from every opportunity presented to him. As we look to commence a number of schemes in to 2023, I’m confident Charlie will gain a wealth of experience to aid the remainder of his studies and give him the foundation upon which to build his career.”