Colours:

Aaron’s journey

 

“I saw a clear progression route to becoming a qualified building surveyor and hoped I would be appointed as the apprentice surveyor for Hexagon, and luckily, I was.”

Aaron Harris

 

I had just finished my Level 1 BTEC in Bricklaying and was unsure if I wanted to continue onto the Level 2 Bricklaying Course. Being a resident and aged 16-17 I received a letter advising that Hexagon were looking for an apprentice surveyor within the Responsive Repairs department and the role was available to residents within my age group i.e. recently left school or college.

The role appealed to me as I always had an interest in the construction industry, particularly surveying because I felt it encourages an overall understanding of the different trades within the industry, and the idea of working on the job and studying at college simultaneously was the ideal option for me to build up a good understanding of building surveying, and also working in social housing.

The Apprenticeship was a total of 2 years where I would be working four days a week and attending college once a week studying BTEC & NVQ Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Construction & Built Environment with Westminster Kingsway College in Soho.When I first started, I found it a very daunting experience as this was my first real job, and I had always struggled with confidence, but I found the staff at Hexagon extremely welcoming and having a ‘buddy’ helped put me at ease too.

The responsive repairs team really guided me, as I would go on visits with the area surveyors, learn how to identify repairs, spec up jobs and raise orders to our contractors, whilst also sitting with other members of the team within the office and being taught how to use the integral PC programmes within Hexagon.

“Balancing my college work with my office work was not easy, but was definitely made a lot more manageable with the support from my colleagues from all departments.”

Initially, I faced a lot of challenges when trying to carry out inspections because of my age and still do now, but I’ve learnt from experience how to handle certain situations, and know that as long as I focus on my job and do it well, residents are normally accepting of my age.

At the end of the first 2 years I successfully completed my BTEC & NVQ Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Construction & Built Environment and this meant I was looking at the possibility of progressing on to the Level 4 HNC in Construction and Built Environment. As my 2 year apprenticeship was coming to an end, I was very fortunate as a space opened up in the SIP department for a project Surveyor and the manager, Rumana Khair, gave me the opportunity to join the team as a ‘Trainee Project Surveyor’ which was a completely new post made for me to continue my studying and development with Hexagon. So, in late 2015 I officially became a member of the Stock Improvement team and enrolled onto the HNC course with Havering College.

The transition from Apprentice to Trainee was perfect for me as it meant I could continue to study, and stay working within Hexagon using all of the experience I had gained from the first two years. I felt I had a good understanding about our properties, our residents, and the service we aim to provide. Whilst it was a big step up in responsibility, it pushed me forward and encouraged my development in a positive way, giving me a greater understanding on being a project surveyor and planning ahead. I felt my manager was extremely supportive and gave me the time and assistance I needed to learn and grow in confidence. Having spent the first two years learning how to be a responsive repairs surveyor, and then working in SIP where it’s about planning programmes, I feel it’s given me the perfect combination of both departments.

I found the last 2 years challenging as my responsibilities increased at work, as did the quantity of my college work. Luckily my manager and the team around me were very supportive and helped me with understanding my new role, and aiding me whenever I needed guidance with work or even an assignment with college. I was also given the opportunity to take part in a number of training courses which related to my job and also college, thanks to my manager.

In the summer of 2017, I successfully passed my Level 4 HNC in Construction and Built Environment, and was offered a permanent role as a project surveyor in the Stock improvement department.

I am very grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given by Hexagon, and to everyone who has been involved in my training thus far. This opportunity has given me a lifelong career in surveying, improved my overall confidence as a person, and given me the chance to learn, develop and achieve.

Aaron Harris
Project Surveyor

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