1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I work as a trainee QS for Expanded (Laing O'Rourke) completing daily tasks such as plant, labour and material cost monitoring, sub contracts depending on what work we need carried out and working on new tenders for projects that are to be completed in the future. This naturally involves discussions with clients, other colleagues and sub contractors on a regular basis meaning good communication skills are required. In terms of responsibility, I was originally given smaller tasks to discover the fundamentals of quantity surveying and as time and my skills have progressed, I have been delegated tasks entailing more responsibility which enables you to feel more involved and become a more important member of the business.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I am currently working towards my degree in quantity surveying in which I am about to enter my second year at Edinburgh Napier University. This has been a fantastic opportunity as it allows you to use skills learned on the job, in your uni work and vice versa. I can honestly state this has been a major factor in my higher grades as it has allowed me to discuss problems with people at work, an opportunity other people in the class will not have. Furthermore, with Laing O'Rourke, internal cadet modules are a mandatory part of our training and work. These include group training and group activities as well as meeting more senior members of staff in order to get their views on the business and how you can advance your career. In addition, the company funds training for programs that can be used in the workplace to make your everyday life easier whilst doing your job, for example, AutoCAD training.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I thoroughly enjoy working in both the office and on site as there is a relaxed attitude when talking to other members of staff but encouragement if offered and a good sense of pushing to achieve the goal comes out when required. The company itself aim to recognise talent in which ever form it may and will push you to achieve the best of your potential through any means. An example of this is the regional director taking time out to discuss career goals with me after identifying at a group business meeting that I would like to push the boundaries and achieve my potential.
4. How valued do you feel by Laing O'Rourke?
I feel extremely valued by Laing O'Rourke as they offer the best opportunities to young staff and offer to pay for training or provide it where possible. Through regular reviews and annual appraisals, my manager is a great help and has also proven to be a friend where applicable in my time at the business. I have been given more and more responsibility as time has gone on and I feel that in the next few years, if the company believes I can handle it, I will be given my own project to monitor and run. This is a great target to aim for and gives you the push you need to achieve your potential.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
An induction was offered before we started working for the company in which we were all flown to the head office and the layout of the five year programme was discussed and explained. Through this, we have learnt that there is training in place where we meet 4 times every year and are provided with great opportunities to boost our own knowledge and get to know other people in the business who are the same position as yourself. There’s always somebody there to contact if required and to answer of questions/ queries that may arise at that time therefore putting your mind at ease with any problems. Furthermore, costs are covered for the training so you do not have to worry about costs or organising the flights/ accommodation yourself.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
The university that I attend are adequate in the support they deliver to students, but I do not believe I can comment hugely as I have only used their services a few times.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
The support from the employer is outstanding as there is no problem so far that has not been resolved for me. Any time a problem arises, either the line manager or team who run the cadet programme (the programme I am on) are there to answer your questions as quickly as possible and efficiently as possible.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
Admittedly, the salary may seem low when you start to become a more valued member of the team, and as you are still incurring the same costs as everyone else for travel and living, it can seem difficult to justify being paid the amount given. On the other hand, if you can prove your worth and show that you are willing to work hard and justify your place in the company, adjustments can be made to your salary annually and extras such as company car and health care can be added therefore making it more worth working for the company.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
Laing O'Rourke strives to complete one day of voluntary work per member of staff per year, therefore giving you the opportunity to help out in the community. In addition, at the aforementioned cadet modules, there is an opportunity to "catch-up" with other cadets and go out for a meal or drink and enjoy others company.
9. Would you recommend Laing O'Rourke to a friend?
The company offer a large amount of support where available, the opportunity to push yourself to reach potential is always in front of you and other members of staff are usually supportive and helpful. In addition, the company aim for the best jobs available on the market and strive to succeed in offering quicker, more efficient ways of delivering these projects, therefore making it interesting to work for Laing O'Rourke.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Laing O'Rourke?
You need to be driven to succeed and be able to prove that you are the right candidate for the job. There are jobs available for everyone who can prove they can handle the pressures and reap the rewards so apply with a strong confidence and believe in yourself whilst flaunting the abilities you have.
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