A Lamb Associates Limited

Degree Apprenticeship Blog: Working abroad, Studying and the Pandemic

Dan Ashton Degree Apprenticeship in Quantity Surveying

Dan Ashton – Apprentice Quantity Surveyor

Degree Apprenticeship in Quantity Surveying: Working abroad, Studying and the Pandemic

Dan returned to his studies in September, and is adapting to a new way of learning as lectures are delivered online in response to the pandemic. His Degree Apprenticeship in Quantity Surveying with The University of Central Lancashire has continued, and he’s been engaged full time on a prestigious pipeline project with a long-term ALA client over in Denmark.

Despite all of the challenges faced throughout this year, Dan continues to excel with his work and studies.


Studying Remotely

In line with the COVID restrictions, I have been unable to physically attend University lectures as I’d hoped. Thankfully, all of our learning has been moved to an online delivery model. This has meant that I’ve still been able to continue with my academic learning – it’s been a bit of a challenge and learning online is different to what I’m used to, but I feel I’ve adapted really well to it.

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) has been really good at keeping in touch with me and I’ve been able to complete and submit my work on time. One of my main assignments this year was a drainage schedule which has been incredibly beneficial to my learning alongside the work I have been doing over the last few months.

In some ways, things have worked out quite well. I was given the opportunity to join a small team that ALA has working on a pipeline project in Denmark. This experience has given me a huge amount of responsibility and has really opened my eyes to working on a major project. Having the ability to attend my University course virtually has enabled me to engage fully with both my learning and the work in Denmark. I’ve learned so much because of this and it is an opportunity that I’m lucky to have. I’ve been able to apply so much of my academic knowledge to the works on site, and seeing how things progress in real life has really helped my understanding of technical and complex problems.


Working during the Pandemic

I know that I’ve been really lucky to continue working full time throughout the pandemic. I’ve heard of some really awful situations where apprentices have been made redundant because of staff changes and restructures. Thankfully, this has never been on the cards for me as ALA have made a real point to invest in me and my future.

I first heard about ALA’s involvement in Denmark from my colleague who was given the opportunity to work out there on site over the Summer. He’s now returned to complete his final year at University, which gave me the chance to go out and replace him.

The role changed massively from when ALA was first involved. I’m now part of a small commercial team that ALA is providing – we’re now in charge of representing our client’s commercial interests across the whole project.

It’s been a huge task and my involvement has grown to include quantity surveyor responsibilities that are beyond what you’d usually expect an assistant quantity surveyor to do. I’ve been under the expert guidance of a Senior Quantity Surveyor, and his experience has really helped me to develop and feel confident in my ability to carry out the role.

As a team, we regularly travel between the UK and Denmark on a rotational basis. This has had its own challenges as I’ve been able to continue to work throughout the various lockdowns and travel restrictions. Its been really weird going through empty airports and having to adapt to an ever changing set of rules, but I’m really proud that I’ve managed to do it.


A typical day on site

No two days are the same. I can be out on site conducting a remeasure to help support a Compensation Event that we’ve raised for our client, often challenging people who are far senior than I am. Other days, I can be office based – assessing all payment applications that come in from the group of subcontractors. This has its own challenge, as sometimes the applications are in either German or Danish!

I’ve had so much independence and responsibility on this project, and it’s really benefitted me by helping my skillset to grow. I feel like I understand so much more about contract administration and the importance of commercial awareness throughout any projects in construction.


What’s next for me

The work in Denmark has been a really great experience, and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity provided to me by ALA and our client. I’m keen to see the project through to completion as it will be the first major project I’ve worked on. Being involved from near the beginning and taking it to completion will be a huge achievement for me and I will have learned so much from it.

I’m looking forward to a break over the Christmas period. I’ve been working really long hours to get all of the work done, as well as keeping up with my studies and submitting assignments. My colleagues are all telling me that I’ve earned the break!


Interested in a Quantity Surveying Degree Apprenticeship?

The feedback we’ve received upon launching this scheme has been overwhelmingly positive. We are considering launching again soon with an intake in September 2021. If you’d like to find out more about studying Quantity Surveying, or have any questions about our Degree Apprenticeship scheme, get in touch!

  • Are you a candidate with A-Level or equivalent qualifications, interested in a highly rewarding career, offering training and development?
  • Are you a school or college interested in partnering with us?

We’d love to hear from you – get in touch via email; careers@alambassociates.com

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