FFT Apprenticeships Spotlight: The foundations of a rewarding career.

9 February 2021

Jamie 6 years’ experience within the industry.

Background – What did you want to be when you were younger?

I wanted to be: To be a comedian – then I found out you had to be funny- so that wasn’t going to work! In school into science – liked the practical side of things – really enjoyed doing tests – found them really stimulating.

What GCSE’s did you get?

GCSE – 13 English science maths PE Re Geography ITT A star grades.

At what point did you decide to build a career in Surveying?

I Fell into the industry really this is my 1st job (went to 6th Form to get A levels – ITT/English Lit/Psychology) got offered a job through one of the Senior Partners Colin Farrell – came in on a internship for 6 weeks (the worst interview of my life) even fed back said that too! Excelled in the last 2 weeks of the role.

How did you hear about the profession?

I had never heard about surveying at school or college – never exposed to it as a adult growing up. You don’t hear or read about it at school or college.

Got full time contract as administration for the 1st 6 months – then FFT steered me into surveying by getting me out – it clicked when I was out onsite instantly and I find it fascinating.

What attracted you to it?

It’s interesting – that potential for something crazy that you have not seen before – that 1st day on site, exploring it, experiencing something fresh – the opportunity – I love the diagnostic side – detective work – finding the issues uncovering issues – when I first started my reports were quite shallow but now I explore every angle.

Who has helped you with your apprenticeship at FFT?

Everyone – I sat within 2 teams (stock conditioning team Senior Partner Colin Farrell and Equity Partner Matt Meehan and Partner Mehmet Bekir’s team) – I have been out with every single surveyor – they all give you nuggets of information the stock conditioning team has 11 surveyors – so always taking me out showing me interesting projects for clients.

Your apprenticeship as you have a lot of hands on experience is that different to others in your year?

Yes I have been exposed to a lot and a huge variety – I know that not all other Practices give their apprentices that. – FFT is unique open – the Senior Partners all sit in the same office – there is no hierarchy not like in other Practices/companies across sectors – everyone is approachable and down to earth – everyone just wants to help you.

What were your first thoughts about surveying as a career?

I Didn’t know anything about it – so to start the apprenticeship was great! A real eye opener – so much opportunity.

What course are you on?

Just Finished level 3 surveying technician diploma (UCEM) and RICS associate assessment completed in 2019 – now enrolled on Level 5 Building Surveying (started in March 2020)

What is the apprenticeship made up of?

Modules studied – to be studied – the whole course is leading towards your APC (you do that in tandem) so at the end I will be fully Chartered – following the competencies of building pathology construction tech sustainability / business then the final APC interview (which terrifies me as my last interview was awful) but if you know your case study then you should be fine.

It’s Based on a working case study – so looking at opportunities. Just finished a twin block refurbishment in Tower Hamlets that I feel could be a good one! 2 blocks parallel to each other similar doors decoration design – FFT spent about a year assessment decoration and repairs to the block – change windows upgrade the doors – created new community space in the block so the resident have somewhere to socialise – very successful having to engage with the local community. Best project we have turned around.

Gateway housing commissioned to do a survey to begin with then picked up the repairs – project was quite small but when we observed the quality of the doors etc it grew. Planning application building control applications. Replaced all of the walkways and communal walkways (has it own challenges as you have to stop resident form accessing using it)

It was a really wide scope – it changed as we went on – it was great to see a project unfold – things you didn’t expect / see 1st time. Client was really happy and kept supporting us throughout the process which plays off hugely when you have to deliver on time (approval/budget/costs from contractors) a lot of contract admin for me.

As an apprentice have you been exposed to the role?

Yes FFT are very accommodating and listen to you – I asked to be on projects form inception to completion – and they have ensured that has happened. That to me is the most satisfying to me – project completion – you remember the times you spent planning it out, designing it then you see the final project – a project that you had a huge input in – is so rewarding – you cant get that feeling from just overseeing small aspects.

What support have you had from FFT?

Can you give examples of when something you learnt in theory, FFT gave you the working experience that made it ‘click’ actual ‘site’ experience

In terms of learning when you are on a college course I was lucky as I had a years’ experience so when you learn about a composition of a window – when you are out with a contractor you know what you are looking for – how it is installed – building pathology – defects you get exposed to a lot more including the more obscure (dry rot)

With FFT you just need to tell them what you need – they will help you. I hadn’t had a lot of exp in new builds so they set me up on small projects that part of the team were doing. The team are always available to help me. Couldn’t ask for a better team – they really help you out.

Next steps

After your apprenticeship – what’s next?

Try and establish myself within FFT – become more senior – keep improving my knowledge and experience / portfolio I can then feel more confident in my delivery of information to people and clients.

FFT – who do you look up to?

Team that I work in – lots of support and trust between us all – really enjoy working with them. When I first started it was Senior Partner Colin Farrell – watching him for the 1st couple of years – I thought OMG – wow what an inspiration – work ethic – knowledge of industry and people that work within it.