This week marks the 15th National Apprenticeship Week, an annual event which aims to showcase the positive impact apprenticeships make to individuals, businesses, and the economy.
To celebrate the week-long campaign and promote the fantastic benefits apprenticeships can have, Quantity Surveyor, Isabelle Hewitt, speaks about her role within Esh-Stantec, what inspired her to work in the construction industry and why she would encourage other young people to consider an apprenticeship route.
Rewind to September 2016, Isabelle commenced her apprenticeship role within Esh-Stantec as an Apprentice Quantity Surveyor where she studied a BTEC Level 3 in Construction and the Built Environment at New College Durham.
Over the years, Isabelle has worked on both small- and large-scale projects ranging from wastewater networks, fresh water networks, to reservoirs, earthworks schemes and beyond.
Fast forward to 2022, Isabelle, now aged 23, has secured three promotions to become a Quantity Surveyor and is set to finalise her degree apprenticeship to become a Chartered Quantity Surveyor later this year.
What is your background before you secured the apprenticeship?
I left college after the first year of my A-Levels. I hadn’t performed how I would have liked and decided the A-Levels I had chosen did not reflect what I was aiming for in a career. After researching courses, I started my BTEC Level 3 in Construction and the Built Environment, where we also learnt interview skills and techniques to apply for apprenticeships. Esh offered me the apprenticeship scheme from there and that was the start of my career.
What made you want to work in the construction industry?
Initially I looked at my strong points and what I enjoyed, being someone who has always been involved in the Scout association, I knew I did not want a role that was 100% office based. However, I knew my stronger subjects where in Maths and Science so looked at roles that suited my aims.
How have you progressed since you first started as an apprentice?
I have been at Esh for nearly six years now and my career has changed significantly over this time. From the start of my career I was lucky enough to shadow a Quantity Surveyor working on one of the larger jobs Esh-Stantec was delivering which meant I gained so much on site experience and knowledge of my role. Throughout the years, promotions have followed where I have gained more and more experience.
I have recently been promoted to a full Quantity Surveyor ahead of completing my dissertation as I have been commercially managing one of Esh-Stantec’s first reservoir projects. I have been promoted three times since starting as an apprentice; first to a Trainee, then to an Assistant and now to a Quantity Surveyor.
Over my time I have won a number of awards including Apprentice of the year in 2018, as well as Most Promising Trainee Quantity Surveyor and Overall Trainee of the Year in 2019.
What would you say to another young person who was considering a career in construction?
Due to a significant generational skills gap within the industry, there is a great opportunity at the moment for young people to work in construction. With innovation and progression at the heart of the industry, the perceptions of it being ‘old school’ are changing rapidly as well as the idea that construction is a male dominated role.
For anyone looking to be part of this industry there are various roles such as Quantity Surveyors and Site Engineers, to the Accounts Management or the Marketing Team, construction is a great environment to work and develop a career with many opportunities in its future.
What are your future career goals?
I aim to keep progressing as a Quantity Surveyor and developing my experience on a variety of projects following my graduation. With the intention to develop into a Senior Quantity Surveyor and further. I am currently working towards my Chartership so aim to gain this in the next year.
Due to a significant generational skills gap within the industry, there is a great opportunity at the moment for young people to work in construction. With innovation and progression at the heart of the industry, the perceptions of it being ‘old school’ are changing rapidly as well as the idea that construction is a male dominated role.”