October 04, 2023

Meet our Trainee Quantity Surveyor, Emily Cook – Q+A

Emily Cook, Trainee Quantity Surveyor, Concertus

When did you decide, you would like to do an apprenticeship?

While I was attending college, I took the time to evaluate my options and chose an apprenticeship as the most suitable route for me to take. Throughout both school and college, there was always so much pressure on ‘what are you going to do when you finish school?’ and most people would respond with college, full-time university and then a full-time job/career– including me. However, once I started going to college five times a week and working part-time, I realised that going to university full-time was not the correct pathway for me as I enjoyed working and didn’t want to stop, but I didn’t want my education path to come to an end either.

Following a lot of research into universities and courses, I decided to pursue a degree apprenticeship as a quantity surveyor, the apprenticeship would allow me to gain valuable work experience while also earning a degree.

I knew I could combine both theoretical and practical knowledge. While working alongside experienced professionals, learn new skills, and apply what I learn in a real-world setting. This type of hands-on learning can be incredibly valuable, as it helps me develop a deeper understanding of my work and prepares me for full-time employment. It also allows me the opportunity to earn a salary while learning.

How was the onboarding process?

Concertus were so supportive and looked after the process for me. After meeting with a representative from ARU at Vertas Group’s head office, I had to gather personal statements, predicted grades, and my actual grades. I also had the opportunity to talk through the course, the timeline, and the balance between time at university and within the office – it gave me a clear understanding of what would be expected.

I then had to complete a skills scan which contained new learning material to support my progression, which I was able to do with one of the Associates at Concertus. Since then, there has been regular contact between ARU and Concertus and I have somewhat of a mentor at the university to aid my development further.

All in all, the process took around three months to complete.

What support have you had since beginning your course from the university and Concertus?

I was disappointed with my A-Level results, but the support I have received from both the Anglian Ruskin University and Concertus, part of the Vertas Group, has been great and it has brought back my confidence that I can achieve what I want out of my education.

The team at Concertus has been such a positive influence, offering training and support in both work and university. Since the day that I applied, it has been phenomenal. I had no previous experience within the industry and everybody on the team has gone out of their way to train me and teach me things which I had no idea about not too long ago! The support I have received from an educational perspective too has been extremely beneficial, I have always had someone to talk me through particular topics and get me to think about things and help my way of thinking. I couldn’t thank everybody enough for making me feel part of the team so quickly.

ARU has been in regular contact with me too, this has helped me stay on the correct path and given me additional motivation to succeed, work hard, and get the best results possible.

What does a typical week look like for you at the moment?

My week is well-structured and allows me to balance both my academic and professional life. I attend university for the first two days of the week, before being in work the remaining three. This structure is also helping me improve my time management skills as I know I have set times to complete my academic work before putting it into practice later in the week. I am enjoying having a healthy work-life balance.

What are your aspirations for the future?

I know that pursuing higher education is an excellent way to challenge myself and show people what I am capable of. I want to expand my knowledge and develop valuable skills that serve me well throughout my career at Concertus and my life in general. My colleagues have been such positive influences on my goals, and I want to one day act as a mentor and role model to others who decide to take the same pathway as me and give them the same treatment I have received during my apprenticeship with the business.