A monthly exploration into the world of sustainability in the built environment with commentary and input from UCEM’s Vice Chancellor and academics.
Seamlessly switching employers mid-apprenticeship
Posted on: 7 February, 2024
To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, we’re profiling each of the shortlisters from this year’s UCEM Built Environment Apprenticeship Awards.
Name: Devon Jackson
Job role: Assistant Cost Consultant
Category: Apprentice of the Year (Undergraduate)
Devon grew up in a family of housebuilders, so it’s perhaps no surprise that when the time came to start thinking about his career, he was keen to explore the built environment. “I realised I wanted to go into the construction industry,” he says, “but I didn’t fancy being outside getting wet!”
After studying economics, business and history at college, Devon started looking into quantity surveying. “I didn’t know too much about it – I don’t think many people do – but I did quite a lot of research, and even got some work experience. I then managed to get an apprenticeship at UCEM through my previous company.”
For Devon, being able to work, earn and gain a degree within five years without taking on any student debt was “pretty much a no-brainer!”.
About halfway through the apprenticeship, Devon made the difficult decision to move from his previous employer to Mace: a move that UCEM supported. “Suzanne, my Apprenticeship Outcomes Officer, was great. She did all the background work that needed to be done for me to carry on studying while switching employers, and I didn’t really have to do much.
“That support really removed so much stress because I thought there would be so many issues around changing companies, and dealing with new managers, but it all went really smoothly.”
Devon is an enthusiastic advocate for quantity surveying and the built environment. He regularly speaks at university careers fairs to share what he’s learned about the industry.
“The uni students are often surprised when they find out I’m younger than them, but I think that’s the benefit of doing an apprenticeship. You mature earlier on.” Devon also devotes his spare time to charitable endeavours, such as landscaping at young offenders’ prisons and attending sporting charity networking events.
One of the advantages of working alongside studying is the exposure to real-world projects and challenges. Devon recalls working on a carbon footprint project for his previous employer that gave him the opportunity to present to the client’s board and shareholders: “It was such a huge confidence boost for me, an apprentice who’s just starting out, to be sitting in a room with the most senior people at that company, and talking to them about where they were going to take their sustainability”.
Devon is keen to leverage his Apprentice of the Year nomination to help other people, “especially younger people who aren’t in the industry or thinking about apprenticeships yet. Being nominated gives me that extra bit of motivation to reach out. This apprenticeship has changed a lot in my life and done really positive things for me, so I’d like to be able to pay that forward to other people.”