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From trainee to Project Quantity Surveyor – Sam's journey so far.

Sam initially enrolled at university on a full-time basis, studying towards a quantity surveying degree. Following his summer placement at Robertson, he switched to our trainee programme and completed his studies on a part-time basis.

Sam, can you tell us about your summer placement at Robertson.

When I started my course at university it was always my plan to gain some work experience, so towards the end of my first year I applied for a summer placement at Robertson. What types of things did you do during your placement? I mostly shadowed a Senior Quantity Surveyor on a new student accommodation development in Nottingham, project value circa £20m, and helped with the project admin. This gave me real insight into the day-to-day role of a QS, but also the planning that goes into a project build and the multiple site roles involved.

Your plan was to return to university for the new semester. Why the change of mind?

I’d been on placement for two months when I was offered the chance to interview for the Robertson trainee programme. That went well and I started my traineeship in the autumn, spending four days at work and one day at university.

In what ways did a traineeship work for you?

At university there’s a lot of focus on the theory aspect, whereas at work I gained a level of practical experience that I wouldn’t get at university. Can you give an example? Yes, I saw first-hand how the QS would approach valuations and deal with sub-contractors. I was also exposed to the latest construction and digital technology. This type of learning on site made a real difference to my degree, understanding of the sector and knowledge level as I started my permanent QS role.

How did you find the work/study balance?

The first couple of years were fine but things did get tougher as I headed into the final year of my degree. It is doable though, you just need to figure out what works for you. I tended not to study after work if I could help it, mostly keeping my nights free and putting aside time at weekends. It was a balance that gave me enough free time that I didn't feel frazzled!

What did you enjoy most about your traineeship?

Definitely the people I worked with – always really helpful and wanting me to achieve my best. If there was any time I was struggling with an aspect of work or study, someone would be there to help me.

On reflection, was a traineeship the right choice for you?

Yes, it’s helped me develop in various ways. I was quite reserved before coming to Robertson, but going into meetings and speaking to site teams and suppliers really grew my confidence. I’d say it helped me become more productive too. In what way? Balancing work and study brings its challenges, so I really had to think about how to allocate my time to achieve what I needed to do without becoming overwhelmed.

You're now a Project Quantity Surveyor – what do you enjoy most about the role?

I love the team work. And driving past a building and knowing that you played a part in constructing it. Every project is different – the people, the challenges and overall experience. But when you work on one from start to finish, and the customer and end users are happy, that’s a brilliant feeling.

Project quantity surveyor

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