Like many people leaving school, Tommy chose to do A-levels, he said: “I originally wanted to become a vet, so I did biology, chemistry and math’s at A-level.”
A year later Tommy was wondering is he’d made the right choice, he started looking into apprenticeships and came to the realisation that they provided a more diverse career route than the path he was currently on.
Tommy said: “I’ve got family that work in construction and through those contacts I heard about EN:Able Futures, so I contacted them and took it from there. The office side of construction appealed to me more than the trade side, so I chose to do an apprenticeship in Construction Management.”
After two years of his apprenticeship, Tommy progressed onto to a graduate programme with Together Housing, who had hosted him for the two years he was employed by EN:Able Futures.
Being hosted as an apprentice by a large housing provider like Together Housing, meant Tommy was able to move around departments and get a feel for different areas like compliance, asset management and project delivery, he said: “I didn’t know exactly what I ultimately wanted to do so working in different departments allowed me to try a bit of everything. I remember going into development and thinking it was quite interesting, and that’s where I ended up getting a graduate post, and has led me onto becoming a project manager.”
A project manager oversees a site, so at the moment I’ve got five on site projects I attend to check on progress of the housing, writing reports, releasing money, and taking hand over when they are complete. My role is in new business project management, so we look at a plot of land in the really early stages and work out how many houses we can fit on it, what sustainability techniques we can incorporate and what subsidies that attracts.
“At the end of the two year apprenticeship I got offered the position of graduate project manager with my hosts Together Housing, who are supporting me to study a Quantity Surveying degree at Leeds Beckett University.
When Tommy graduates, being a qualified quantity surveyor will open lots of doors for him as demand for such skills is very high in the construction sector, he said: “It’s an in demand industry. Salaries have gone up a lot, I am constantly getting invitations on LinkedIN due to how much demand there is for these types of skills.
"For apprenticeships in general, the amount of experience you get is great. During my apprenticeship EN:Able Futures supported me by making sure my hosts were giving me work that was related to what I was doing at college. When I qualify at university I will have had six years of work experience, whereas someone who goes down the A-Level route and then to university will be qualified but have no work experience at all.
“It doesn’t matter how hard you work, if the opportunity is not there it's difficult. I always link it to being a footballer, you can be the best footballer out there, but if you don’t get scouted, your not going to make it. It’s the same with this, if there’s not this stepping stone of an apprenticeship, you can work as hard as you want, but when you come out of university there is going to be a lot less jobs you can apply for compared to someone with six years industry experience under their belts and the same qualification.