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Ryan Towey - Level 6 Chartered Surveyor Degree Apprenticeship (Quantity Surveyor Pathway)

Ryan Towey, 19, is in his first year of his degree apprenticeship working for PJ Towey Construction and Towey Homes. So far, Ryan has enjoyed being able to meet like-minded peers as well as learning from an academic team with a plethora of industry experience. NTU was Ryan’s top choice because he felt confident that NTU could deliver “qualified and successful students” into the construction industry.

Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship?

“I’ve always felt I wanted to start my career as quickly as possible and develop my skills on the job from those who experience it first-hand, day in and day out. An apprenticeship allows me to earn while I learn and work towards a qualification and professional status appropriate for my ability.”

What stands out about NTU?

“The community is unlike anything I’ve experienced to date. It’s a network of students, professionals, and academics coming together from across the spectra of age and experience to share their skills and knowledge.

Moving onto higher education can feel daunting, but I’ve been at ease in the environment at NTU since enrolling in October. I can’t wait to see what the years ahead have to offer.”

How do you believe this apprenticeship will affect both your current job role and future career?

“I think that the apprenticeship will almost certainly give me an advantage over my peers throughout my career. By the time our full-time peers have graduated, we will have at least three years’ experience under our belts which is highly valuable to employers.

Furthermore, the apprenticeship also has a clear, defined route to obtaining an MRICS chartership. This professional status provides international recognition of your skillset, knowledge, and ethical operating practices - making the opportunity to work overseas a real possibility.”

How would you rate the teaching and support staff on this apprenticeship?

“With being employed full-time, I find the contact time at NTU to be easy going. While the expectations are clear and the workload considerable, the academic staff are incredibly understanding. NTU has built an academic team with years of industry experience, meaning that our lecturers understand first-hand our capabilities and limitations. Furthermore, they can appreciate the importance of time management as we have both professional and academic deadlines to meet.”

What do you think of the facilities available at NTU?

“The School of Architecture, Design and Built Environment is within the City campus. With apprentices studying on a day release, we spend most of our off-the-job training in lectures/workshops. When we’re not, the city location means there are plenty of places to grab a bite to eat or do some independent study – including the Boots Library that is open 24 hours a day.

The NTU online workspace (NOW) is available to all students and apprentices. It’s easy to navigate and provides a central, secure location for all course content which allows you to catch up on anything you may miss or refresh your memory/review previous topics.”

NTU has built an academic team with years of industry experience, meaning that our lecturers understand first-hand our capabilities and limitations. Furthermore, they can appreciate the importance of time management as we have both professional and academic deadlines to meet.

What is your favourite thing about your apprenticeship?

"For me, it is meeting like-minded peers. While at sixth form, seeing most of my friends getting excited about the student life and moving miles from home never really resonated with me.

Since starting my apprenticeship, I have met a whole new set of people who share a mutual appreciation of one another's priorities. While our responsibilities vary based on each firm's requirements, we are all working to become successful Quantity Surveyors.”

What skills and experience have your gained as part of this apprenticeship? Has there been anything that you weren’t expecting?

“I can confidently say I’m a better communicator than before starting my apprenticeship. As a quantity surveyor, I find myself sending emails, making phone calls, and attending meetings far more than I anticipated. I needed to enhance my ability to communicate if I was to maintain healthy working relationships with both clients and sub-contractors.

Also, my technical understanding has come on leaps and bounds since starting my apprenticeship. When starting as a QS, it’s all too easy to get consumed by the financial side of the job, particularly from the contractor’s side. The ‘Fundamentals of Construction’ module has ensured that this isn’t the case as we study the construction processes and materials involved in housebuilding.”

What advice would you give to someone considering a higher/degree apprenticeship?

“Go for it. Currently, it is so unique to have the opportunity to work and study at the level we do. The degree apprenticeship is still in its infancy and it continues to evolve each day.  Right now, you could be the first of a new wave of uniquely skilled professionals in an industry with an already extensive labour shortage, making you highly desirable to potential employers.

Also, as I have already touched on, you’ll meet some great people. There’s a lot of work and there is no shying away from that, but you shouldn’t worry about having a fun and relaxed social life. Your constant efforts in the workplace and university will make you appreciate the restful weekends and the club nights out that much more.”

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