Building a rewarding career in quantity surveying

Jamie Mulligan

By Jamie Mulligan, a graduate quantity surveyor at AS Homes

NEXT week exam results will be revealed and career paths set, or will they? As shown with the #NoWrongPath campaign, are there more options for young people than they might think?

I played a lot of football when I was younger and dreamed of playing professionally when I grew up. The reality of this actually happening set in as I got older, so I started considering my career options. My dad was a joiner and I always enjoyed working with him. With a keen interest in the world of construction, I realised it was going to be a main option, but I was uncertain of the role I would play within it.

By the time I was in my fifth year of secondary school, the recession’s impact was still being felt, with few apprenticeship opportunities at that time. Instead, a school careers advisor encouraged me to apply for quantity surveying courses.

I balanced studying full-time at the City of Glasgow College with a part-time job, and towards the end of my second year of college, I had the golden opportunity to join housebuilders, AS Homes, a family-run housebuilder with a reputation for delivering high quality housing projects. At first, I thought it would only be a couple weeks’ work experience, but when I realised that AS Homes offered a Trainee Development Programme, I jumped at the opportunity. I was delighted to further develop my practical skills through on-the-job training whilst simultaneously working towards achieving a BSc (Hons) quantity surveying degree at Glasgow Caledonian University.

While I was working part-time for AS Homes, they covered my university fees. This financial support, as well as the time that they invested in me throughout my practical training, was crucial to helping me realise my ambitions.

AS Homes’ Trainee Development Programme has really helped my career and given me a solid grounding. I have learnt an enormous amount from highly experienced colleagues and have found that the sector offers many opportunities. I enjoy the varied and engaging nature of the work – spending time on-site and in the office working on a wide range of projects.  AS Homes delivers social housing for landlords throughout central Scotland and Briar Homes develops private homes, giving a broader knowledge base to build my career.

The construction industry is facing a major skills shortage, exacerbated by the fact that it is often perceived quite negatively. I think careers advisors need to challenge traditional perceptions of construction roles. In many schools, young people are steered towards a university education and some subjects are promoted over others. As a result, the construction sector is often overlooked as a desirable career path.

I focused on the shortage of workers in the industry for my university dissertation, mainly to encourage and inspire young people to consider a career in this hugely rewarding sector. There is always going to be a need for new homes and there are opportunities for young people to realise a fulfilling career in this fantastic industry. I will continue to play my part to motivate young people and I hope that trainee programmes like the one championed by AS Homes will continue to attract the next generation of talent as they are the future of the sector.

Last week, I received confirmation of my degree and the support that I received from AS Homes throughout my journey into quantity surveying has helped me to make my dream a reality. There is still a lot more to learn, but I am confident that more time spent on-site with my experienced colleagues will get me to the next stage of my career as a quantity surveyor. I can keep football for my days off.