1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I work for a construction company (Morgan Sindall Construction & Infrastructure LTD) where i'm involved in the estimating process. The projects we are involved cost anywhere between £100,000 to £25,000,000 and include blocks of flats, schools and industrial units. My current title is Trainee Estimator. When i first joined, my title was Assistant Administration Apprentice. My role involves sorting and printing tender documentation (construction drawings, specifications, surveys etc.). I then assist the estimator in sorting what documents need to be sent to each trade in order for them to provide us with a quotation for their works. A lot of time is spent answering their queries as well. Then we take the most appropriate price from each trade, add all the trade prices together, add on our overheads and profit and then submit our tender. If we win, the site team gets involved and we hand over the project to them. Then, whether we win or lose, we move on to the next project.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Developed computer skills. I've become more proficient in using Microsoft office, and other database systems. I've also studied a Level 2 Business and Admin NVQ course, a Level 3 BTEC Engineering course at college on day release, and i am currently studying a HNC Quantity Surveying course at college, again on a day release basis. I've definitely developed my people skills and my telephone skills, becoming more confident in both instances.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
The programme has been very good, and i continue to enjoy my time as a trainee. Obviously you have some bad days, but most of time the course is enjoyable. The people i work with are very friendly and always happy to help and answer any questions. It's also good when i can assist others and help train other new colleagues on systems that i am now used to, but they have not used before. Learning new things is also an enjoyable experience that will be very useful in the future, so its important for me to get involved and get as much out of the process as i can.
4. How valued do you feel by Morgan Sindall?
On the whole i feel very valued. I feel i help the team in a big way, especially when things get really busy. If i do my role wrongly, we could end up with no prices for a project, meaning we cant submit a tender, so its nice to know i do have an important role in the company. In 2015 I was also awarded the "Best Trainee" for the South West & Wales award. This recognition of the work i have put in was really nice to receive, and involved going to an awards dinner in London along with 80 or so other colleagues from all parts of the business and country. It was great to see how much Morgan Sindall values the work put in by all the employees.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
On the whole, very well organized. There is a dedicated trainee co-coordinator in my office which has been a big help. She's helped me get on to the right course, and sorted out all of the admin side of things. I've also had the freedom to choose which courses i want to do, with Morgan Sindall happy to pick up any costs involved. There are also yearly reviews and other intermediate ones with my manager winch helps keep me on the right track with my career. Considering when i started there was only one other apprentice that had joined a month before and the company didnt have much experience in training apprentices, the whole programme has gone extremely smoothly.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
I've had two training provider (Paragon and Bournemouth & Poole College) and they've both been very supportive. Not only on the courses i am doing with them, but also in checking that everything at work is okay (i.e. not working really long hours, the workplace is a safe and happy environment, my salary is okay etc.). Although each have had there problems with regards to teachers changing/leaving mid way through courses, both have carried on the course regardless and managed to keep the continuity on the whole.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Brilliant support from HR, the training co-coordinators, my line manager and all the directors in the office. Any problems with college they've helped out. They've paid for all the courses i've gone on. Any other courses i want to go on that further my knowledge, they are more than happy to send me on. On one occasion, Bournemouth and Poole college informed me in Septmber 2014 that i didn't have a place on the engineering course i'd planned on doing, even though I'd applied in May 2014 and been informed i had a place and they would contact me nearer the time. On that occasion 4 different members of the my team and HR got involved in speaking to the college to get me a place which meant a lot and showed they were all looking out for me.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
Salary has always been very good. When i joined it was well above the average for apprentices. I had a 30% pay increase after 6 months as well which was great. I'm starting to feel i'm due another pay rise as i become more valuable to the team, and i'm sure this will come in due course.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are numerous company get-to-together which you can get involved in (e.g. lunch's out with the team, evening's out etc.) We also get involved in helping the local communities, usually spending a couple days each year helping a local charity. Outside of work, like any teenager, i enjoy going out with friends and trying new experiences. Visiting new places (whether abroad or in the UK) is something i also enjoy a lot. I play 5 a-side football between two and three times a week, and also go mountain biking every now and then.
9a. Would you recommend Morgan Sindall to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
Although staying on at 6th Form and then going to university obviously trains you very well in your chosen role, actually experiencing the "real world" and getting on the job training is fantastic. You start progressing in your career immediately, and by the time others have left university and are ready to start working, you've already got at least 5 years work experience and knowledge over them which i think is highly beneficial (you also don't have a mountain of student debt and more than likely will have more material possessions than them because you've been earning for those 5 years). If you're unsure what career path you want to take when you're looking at apprenticeships, staying on at sixth form can be useful, but once you know, i think actually getting into that role as soon as possible is the best thing to do. Just try a career path. If you dont like it, change. There's also no guarantee that by the time you finished sixth form you'll have any clearer idea about what you want to do with our life, so experiencing working will help in your decision process.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Morgan Sindall? *
Be enthusiastic throughout the whole process. Dress smart for the interview and be confident (but not over confident; no one likes that). First impressions count! Triple check your CV and make sure it represents who YOU really are as much as possible. Make sure you there are no spelling mistakes on your CV and job application. Read up on the company you are going to an interview for (a small knowledge of building projects that the company i am now working for really helped and impressed during the interview process). Do some work experience (this also was a big help in getting me my current job). Take every opportunity you get.
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