1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My role is that of a commercial apprentice, I am currently working on a large residential project in London Bridge. In my current role, I am helping with the change control process on the project (helping to manage client, designer or contractor-led change), as well as assisting my commercial colleagues on the project in order to gain experience and knowledge through them. Additionally, I attend university one day a week on a 'day-release' basis, as well as internal training sessions scattered throughout the year.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have acquired many new skills, as well as developing existing ones throughout the duration of my apprenticeship. This includes the development of basic skills required by most people working in business or other similar industries - such as that of using Excel and other financial management skills, such as Conject and Oracle. I have also acquired skills that I previously did not possess - such as knowledge of the construction industry, materials, a project's life cycle and the legal and economic aspects to the role.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I enjoy the degree apprenticeship that I have chosen to do because it gives you the freedom of being able to work and earn money as an adult would, but with the added security that you have the Talent and Development team to help with your development and the furthering of your abilities where required. Additionally, the provision of a university degree aids with my enjoyment of the programme, as not only is it teaching me new skills and helping me to gain new knowledge, it is also helping to form friendships with others in the industry. Finally, the project I have been placed on has a great team, and I have been fortunate to have two extremely knowledgeable managers.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
I think the programme is well structured in that we received a timetable in our induction to the programme which detailed our internal training for the entire year - allowing us to plan around the sessions that were already in place. In addition, we have clear support networks - with a buddy, the talent and development team, and our line managers which tend to work in tandem to ensure that we receive relevant training. We also have a competency portfolio which outlines the minimum requirements for training
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
As mentioned in the previous answer, we do receive support from our employer in that the talent and development team are always on hand to help with any concerns (work or otherwise) that we may have, and act as an intermediary between us and the business as a whole.
On my team, I feel a great deal of support from my colleagues, they are always on hand to answer any questions I may have or help with anything I am struggling with.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
The training provider, in my case LSBU, is on hand to provide support where needed. Lecturers have 'drop in' hours on their timetable (which are advertised on the vle), where students can pop by and perhaps talk through something they don't understand, or gain further insight into a topic of interest.
Lecturers are always on hand to help via email as well, should you need it.
It is my understanding that there is DDS available to those who may need it
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
My qualification helps to provide me with the knowledge surrounding construction (whether that be technology and materials, construction practice, or legal and economic context), and then my role helps to contextualise what I have learnt - and so provides a real-life example. This also works the other way, when I have learnt something at work that then becomes relevant at university.
I feel that Construction Practice A and the Legal and Economic Context modules have allowed me to know more about the industry as they are very specific towards working to become a commercial manager. Construction Technology and Materials, although I appreciate its usefulness, is not as relevant to my role.
8. Are there extra-curricular activities to get involved in at your work? (For example, any social activities, sports teams, or even professional networking events.)
Yes - there are 'Quarterly Drinks' at our company's HQ which act as a celebration of achievements made in that quarter, as well as a networking opportunity. There are also team-building events that occur within projects. Similarly, we are encouraged to volunteer for 2 days a year - for example, gardening at a park locally to the project which again is often done as a team, so this will help to bond the team together. My project has also done a couple football matches.
9a. Would you recommend Mace Group to a friend?
- Clear chain of command between line managers and apprentices, allowing good communication and 'coaching' - An exciting portfolio of projects to be assigned to (past examples include: Spurs Football Stadium, London Eye, The Shard) - Many different business units to develop your skills personally and in your chosen discipline - Good employee benefits package including a healthcare package, pension, discount codes for retailers and 'rewards'. - Team spirit is really focused upon in the company - as well as the mantra of a 'better way', including being environmentally responsible, giving to charities etc.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Mace Group?
- Get in there early: as an apprentice the windows open around a year in advance of your theoretical start date (September), so keep an eye out for the applications to open and apply swiftly - Do your research: look online for reviews from other employees, the company website detailing past projects/clients, what industries Mace works in, the company set up and governance (such as the 'engines' of Develop, Consult, Construct and Operate - as well as HR and Group Services) - Be confident and be yourself: You do not need to know everything about construction in order to undertake an apprenticeship at Mace. The training programmes in place are there to cater to all abilities - so don't fret.