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NAW 2023: The role of Apprenticeship Schemes in my career at Vextrix


This year to mark National Apprenticeship Week 2023 Brad Gallagher shares how apprenticeship schemes have played such an important role in his career so far. Currently working towards his level 7 Degree Apprenticeship in Quantity Surveying, today he’s explaining how his Apprenticeships have meant he has been able to progress in his career while training and why it’s a brilliant route to your future career.

What made you decide to take an Apprenticeship?

When I had finished my A levels, I knew I wanted to start working and building my experience and keep studying and get my qualifications in that way. Taking an apprenticeship scheme made sense for me because I learn better through actually doing tasks, I’m more of an applied thinker and learner.

When did you start your Apprenticeship and what are you working towards at the moment?

I started working at a local firm and enrolled on to my level 3 Civil Engineering Apprenticeship. I completed this over two years and that meant I was able to join a larger firm where I enrolled on my level 4 Project Management Apprenticeship. In April 2021 I joined Vextrix and I am now working on my level 7 Degree Apprenticeship in Quantity Surveying.

What is involved in your Apprenticeship?

The way my apprenticeship is structured means I attend university lectures one day a week during term time and the other four days I spend working in my role as Project Manager and completing tasks specific to the projects I’m working on. You are assessed at each stage by submitting written assignments based on what you are learning and how you are applying it in your role. The assignments need to be done in your own time, so learning to manage my time has been really important. Luckily working at Vextrix means everyone is always willing to help and support you. There’s also lots of other people studying for different qualifications here, so being able to encourage each other really helps.

What do you enjoy most about being on an Apprenticeship scheme?

One of the areas I enjoy most is learning from the people I work with. I’m learning all the time from my line manager and others in the team, from their relationships with our clients, how they handle different situations and the way we pull together. I think that’s a big part of the way it sets you up for the future. I really enjoy learning, so I like using my CPD hours to try new things. CPD (Continuing Professional Development) gives me the opportunity to say that I’d like to try something I haven’t done before and the programme gives you a bank of hours specifically to try new things and learn new skills. Over the summer I used my CPD hours to spend time with our Head of Finance. I used it to learn as much as I could about his role and the part it plays at Vextrix. It was a great opportunity to learn more and get experience in that area.

How has the route you have taken prepared you for your role as Project Manager?

The apprenticeship schemes I have taken so far cover different topics. Everything I’ve learnt up to this point has given me the skills I need in my role as Project Manager and for my degree apprenticeship. I’m glad I decided to take this route because I think my experiences gives me a rounded knowledge of my role and it means I can add value to the projects I’m working on.

Have you faced any challenges that you have overcome?

As my role has changed, I have more responsibilities and time management is one of the most important skills I’ve learnt throughout the process. When I started my first apprenticeship I was in a junior role which meant my time was a bit more flexible, with more responsibility as a Project Manager I’ve learnt how important it is to plan and stay organised so I can do my best in both my assignments and in my role.

What advice would you give to others who are thinking about enrolling on an Apprenticeship?

If you’re keen to learn new things and learn best by doing, an apprenticeship is a great route to the job you want to have in the future, and it means you’ve got all the skills you need when you get there! I would say plan where you want to be in the next five years to set your goal, that way you can work towards each step and see where you’re going.

How has Vextrix supported you while you have been studying for your Apprenticeship?

I have a workplace mentor and a line manager who are offering me lots of support while I’m studying for my degree apprenticeship and I’m delivering projects for our clients and I get a lot of encouragement from them too. What I really like about working for Vextrix is that even though I am studying it doesn’t stop me from progressing. In March 2022 I achieved my Professional Accreditation and became a member of the Association of Project Managers (MAPM) and I was promoted to my role as Project Manager at Vextrix in the same month.

How do you see your career developing at Vextrix in the next five years?

I have now got two and a half years left in my Quantity Surveying degree apprenticeship and in the next three to five years at Vextrix I would really like to progress from a Project Manager to a Programme Manager and then hopefully to an Associate Director.