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Youngest DCS Ambassador shortlised for BAME Apprentice Award

In his own words......... by Joshua Jackson.

My passion for Real Estate and Construction started from a young age. Growing up in London admiring the transformation of the city’s skyline and regeneration of local communities. Growing up I never found careers in Real Estate and Construction Industry to be well publicised when compared to the usual Law, Education, Finance or Medical Industries.

When I was given the opportunity in the first year of sixth form for two weeks work experience. I actively searched for roles within the Construction Industry to fulfil my passion. I knew that I wanted to be part of a Construction team but was unsure in what capacity. I came across Quantity Surveying and was later accepted into a placement within the commercial department at the Royal Borough of Greenwich in July 2014. This was my first real exposure of working in a professional practice and was inspired by the chartered surveyors of all ages, backgrounds, and experiences.

Upon concluding of my work experience the interests, excitement and dreams increased and at that point my decision was secured to pursue a career in quantity surveying. I spent my August 2014 summer holidays researching pathways into surveying when I came across Apprenticeships. Apprenticeships offered a paid salary and the great opportunities of studying for a course paid by an employer or Government.

Fortunately, I recently finished my GCSE’s and AS levels and I knew that my passion and grades in both maths and IT would help strengthen my applications of Apprenticeships in Quantity Surveying. One of the first and successful Apprenticeships applications was at Breyer Group Plc who was working on behalf of the London Borough I was raised. This was very attractive in least of traveling, familiarisation, and not worrying about being late.

I joined Breyer Group on 29th September 2014 as an Apprentice Quantity Surveyor through their Apprenticeship Programme. Breyer Group are a Main Contractor specialising in roofing, construction, responsive repairs and maintenance with our ethics of adding value services and high -value investments in our local communities.

My apprenticeship journey started with a hands-on approach of all commercial aspects involved in construction working alongside my mentors. My roles included assisting with cost reporting, valuations, procurements, tendering and site measurements.

Through my ambitions, self - drive and motivation I was able to receive a full sponsorship from Breyer. To complete a Level 4 HNC in Quantity Surveying and the Built Environment with a promotion to a Trainee Quantity Surveyor also landing on the table. The duration of my HNC course was two years and attending on a day release basis. Building Law, Contract Administration, Construction Technology, Risk Management and Quantity Surveying Practice and Management was just a few modules covered.

My HNC graduation in 2017 was celebrated in our monthly press release here and very soon after I received another promotion to the role of Assistant Quantity Surveyor before embarking and leading on my first project alone in Surrey. In addition to the start of my BSc Quantity Surveying Degree Apprenticeship at the University of Greenwich.

This new project and responsibility required me to put in place all the experiences and skills I developed and learned to successfully deliver the project on time, with costs and quality factors all achieved.

This project helped provide exposure to internal refurbishments of a mixture of over 50 unoccupied properties in Southern England (Surrey) and some of my interesting refurbishments included:

  • Grade II listed properties

  • Working with structural engineers and damp surveyors

  • Using acrow beams and installing steel beams

  • Soil investigations, trail pits and building retaining walls

  • Converting x2 one-bedroom houses into a large family three-bedroom house.

These residential projects ran alongside the start of my BSc Degree and after two years I was able to commence another new project. This project included external refurbishment and kitchen and bathroom renewals of occupied properties. Due to the geographical location of sites it allowed plenty of travelling opportunities to England’s South Coast and Bristol.

Throughout my Apprenticeship journey my responsibility has increased and during the final year of University it must be reported as one of the most personal challenges. Juggling both a very demanding career, final year of examinations, dissertations and battling with the global pandemic of Coronavirus was more inspiration for me to try and finish on a high.

Submitting my dissertation in May 2020 entitled a CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF THE UK HOUSING CRISIS AND AN EVALUATION ON POTENTIAL SOLUTIONS THROUGH OFF-SITE MANUFACTURING helped officially mark the end of the five years studies.

A quick reflection of achievements includes:

  • 2019 appointed as Quantity Surveying Programme Representative

  • Delivered numerous seminars providing an insight into joining RICS Matrics and CIOB Novus as the next generations of professionals

  • 25th June 2020 receiving notification of achieving a First Class Honours in BSc Quantity Surveying

  • 09th July 2020 shortlisted for BAME Apprenticeship Awards 2020 {Winners announced November 2020}

  • 22nd July 2020 received University of Greenwich Merit Awards for Outstanding Achievement

  • 24th July 2020 appointed Ambassador and Mentor for the Breyer QS Academy. The QS Academy is being delivered with DCS Founder and Chair, Bola Abisogun OBE as part of a wider socio-economic element and wider #PQS2030 career offer, and is essentially a grassroots introduction into Quantity Surveying for 18 – 24 year olds. Becoming a mentor provides the opportunity to inspire and share my Apprenticeship lived experiences and provide support and mentoring to the next generation, who are now at the start of their career, where I was 6 years ago. As Bola, has often said, "its time to look back and pass the baton".

But, what I enjoy and advocate most about Apprenticeships is the more you put in, the more you can accomplish. Sitting on committee’s with RICS Matrics and CIOB Novus and becoming an Apprentice Ambassador with DiverseCity Surveyors offers the unique opportunity to broaden experience and network with like-minded colleagues. Becoming the first generation in my family to study Quantity Surveying, has certainly allowed me to set the benchmark quite high!

I believe apprenticeships in Construction and Real Estate should be about promoting careers to the next generation to get involved into the industry, take the jump and reinstate their knowledge to help become part of the talent pool of success in the next generational wave.

One day I wish to leave behind a legacy of change and also to be able to point to the skylines when the next generation asks me to share my experience in the UK Construction Industry.

Knowledge is power and success is about stepping outside the box despite fears and pressures and always pursuing your dreams.

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