Novus Blog

A close up headshot of a quantity surveyor

HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT BECOMING A QUANTITY SURVEYOR?

  18 NOVEMBER, 2018      CAREERS
Quantity surveying has lots of potential for career progression. Since the recession quantity surveyors are in short supply, and people with the right skills are in high demand. It’s not too late to start your career in quantity surveying and there a number of different ways you can start your journey.   What is a Quantity Surveyor? A quantity surveyor is pivotal to most building projects and is instrumental in keeping costs down, ensuring value for a client. As a quantity surveyor you will be expected to be able to manage costs, calculations and figures and therefore, strong numerical skills are vital. Often acting between the architect and construction team, a quantity surveyor ensures that value is prioritised at every step and that timings and costs are met, whilst abiding to all necessary regulatory standards. Qualifications Required To be a fully qualified quantity surveyor you will need to have either a degree or a professional qualification accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). However there are a few different options in regards to achieving either a degree or receiving a qualification:   Degree Route There are a number of universities across the UK that offer quantity surveying courses, which when completed, will give graduates the ability to work in the field. This option can be flexible like all degrees; they can be completed part-time or full-time, but have the benefit of giving a professional qualification at successful completion.  Postgraduate Conversion If you already have a degree then you do not need to repeat the full process to qualify as a quantity surveyor. Many degrees, such as construction, mathematics and civil engineering lend themselves to being the perfect base for a career as a quantity surveyor. Irrespective of the course studied, postgraduate conversion courses are available for any degree and are a great route for those who have already graduated.  Apprenticeship Route If you haven’t yet got a degree and don’t necessarily want to go down the university route, there are plenty of apprenticeship opportunities for those interested in becoming a quantity surveyor. With a great background of training apprentices at Novus, we know that apprenticeships are a great way to get qualified without the debt associated with university. Quantity Surveyor through Work Not too dissimilar to working through an apprenticeship, one way to work towards the qualification would be to go into a junior role and study alongside this to become fully qualified. Here at Novus we always encourage personal growth and urge employees to pursue qualifications from these positions, so this could be a great way into the industry. Donna McLean, Novus Quantity Surveyor A great example of a quantity surveyor who became qualified from work is current Novus employee Donna McLean. Donna has been qualified as a quantity surveyor for 8 years, 6 years at Novus this month, and she recalls the reasoning for initially wanting to become qualified: “I was actually working as an accounts administrator and was passed up for a promotion that I had been promised, as I didn’t have an accounts qualification. I then approached the director who had rejected my promotion to ask if I could train to become a QS. He thought that was a great idea. I then arranged to go to college on a day release to complete my HND in quantity surveying. I completed this over two years, then joined third year of the BSC QS course at Glasgow Caledonia University, again studying while I was training as a QS.” Why Join Novus? Whether you are currently a qualified quantity surveyor or looking for your next step in your career and considering becoming a quantity surveyor, Novus often have vacancies right across the UK for talented individuals. Here at Novus we offer fantastic career progression alongside a family values-driven environment, which could be the perfect place for you to take your next career step.  
Novus worker Dani Robert Wrights stood near windows

DANI CHOSE NOVUS

  15 OCTOBER, 2018      CAREERS , CORE VALUES
Dani Robert Wrights tells us why she joined Novus when she was looking for progression… I had previously worked for a larger corporate business, where I felt like a number. My line manager manged so many people you wouldn’t have been surprised if they didn’t recognise you when they saw you. At the end of my time at my previous employment I did some training towards becoming a site supervisor however when I left I didn’t have the experience to go for this role straight away. I came to Novus looking for progression in February 2017. I wanted a business to invest time and effort into me. I’m not a job hopper so wanted to make sure this move was the right one. As soon as I met the team I knew things would be different at Novus. Since joining Novus I’ve developed much faster than I expected to. Joining Novus as a Contract Liaison Officer (CLO) I joined Novus as a Contract Liaison Officer (CLO) where my role was to keep communications flowing between site teams, clients and office colleagues. A big part of the role was customer communication – lettering procedures, satisfaction surveys, pre-entry information, and engagement sessions to ensure that all of our customers were kept informed throughout the work. Refurbishment and Decoration Work The majority of my work was with residents of housing associations, councils and care homes where we were carrying out cyclical decoration or kitchen and bathroom refurbs.  My role meant I came into contact with lots of different people and no two days were ever the same – I could spend days in the office or equally I could have been visiting three different sites in a day.  I liked the variety the job gave me, and it definitely kept me busy! Social Value Projects Part of Contract Liaison Officer role was to head up social value projects.  I’ve organised a wide variety of events from refurbishing community spaces, to teaching people with learning difficulties painting skills whilst decorating an internal space for them to making donations.   In my new role as Site Supervisor I have had the exciting challenge of supervising the Big 5 Project in Birmingham but from a different perspective. Now I am responsible for co-ordinating the works, making sure we stick to programme and stay within the budget, as well as ensuring my colleagues health and safety remains at the forefront of everything we do. The Novus Difference What makes Novus different is the close working relationships.  The directors visit and they know you by name, which makes you feel like a valued part of the team. I also have a strong support network of colleagues around me.  There’s always someone you can direct questions to. It’s no surprise to me that when people come, they stay. If you are looking for a company where you can progress, like Dani was, why not look through our current vacancies.  
Stuart Seddon stood with apprentices

STUART SEDDON: WE MUST GIVE APPRENTICES THE CHANCE

  31 JULY, 2017      CAREERS , INDUSTRY INSIGHTS
Our chairman, Stuart Seddon, was recently asked by leading industry title Construction News for his thoughts on the importance of apprenticeships. Read his blog below.   The recession left the construction industry with scant resources to invest in the recruitment and training of apprentices. The ongoing skills shortage is making it increasingly difficult for firms of all sizes to find high-quality staff, and companies have been unable to finance the training and development work that would help to turn raw recruits into future managers and directors. As a result, apprenticeship schemes have become hard to come by for aspiring construction workers, particularly at larger firms where staff at trainee and apprentice level are often viewed as low cost, short-term labour rather than an investment for the future. Many of the surviving apprenticeship schemes are poorly implemented, with companies viewing the provision of opportunities for young people as a box-ticking exercise and a blocker to getting the job done. The industry as a whole needs this trend to be reversed. Apprenticeship schemes must be made a priority, to transform the working culture at companies of all sizes and increase levels of staff loyalty and motivation in a way that is incredibly difficult to achieve through traditional recruitment. The government must do more to help companies deliver quality apprenticeships, so that firms can make the transition from simply employing people to becoming the creators of successful construction careers. The issue of training grants has become something of a political football, and it is difficult for anyone in construction to predict legislative changes that might make it more difficult to recover training costs. Various levies on the industry are not helping the situation at the moment, and the industry is in danger of compromising its future if more is not done to reduce the cost of training and recruiting apprentices. At a company level, firms must be brave and give young people access to the opportunities they deserve. Help is available through trade associations, and keen youngsters should not have to wait until they are 18 to access apprenticeships that continue their academic development and get their construction careers off to the very best possible start. It is vital that firms recognise the value of apprenticeship schemes and their power to enrich people’s lives. Apprentices have been a major focus at Novus for the last 75 years and the success of our scheme is reflected at board level; all but one member of the company’s board of directors were teenagers when they joined the firm, and we all learned our trade through the Novus apprenticeship scheme. The experience of being an apprentice is one that gets passed down through families, and we have gained enormous strength from the family connections that can be found in all areas of our company. Nowadays, companies can use social media to communicate with the families and guardians of their apprentices, ensuring young recruits are happy and safe at work. Rather than aiming to simply upskill young people as quickly as possible, apprenticeships should help them grow and develop in all areas of their work. Those of us who were apprentices ourselves remember being 16 or 17 years old, working alongside colleagues with 20 or 30 years of experience, and how much we learned from those people - we want to share that learning with future generations.
Novus decorator with arms crossed and Dulux Trade paint in background

TOP TIPS FROM OUR APPRENTICE OF THE YEAR

  01 JULY, 2017      CAREERS
Daniel Holdcroft was just 16 when he called our Burton office to ask if there were any apprenticeships being offered. Now, at the age of 18, he has been named our Apprentice of the Year, having enjoyed tremendous success and made a significant impact during his time with the company. It was Daniel’s dad, a painter at our Stoke-on-Trent branch, who prompted that first phone call to our training manager Jackie Budden, and Daniel now looks well on his way to following in his father’s footsteps. But decorating doesn’t always run in the family, and new apprentices come from all walks of life. Here are Daniel’s top tips to anyone thinking that a Novus apprenticeship might be for them. Don’t be scared “I had to have an interview and go through a number of tests before I was selected as an apprentice. We were tested on basic maths and English, and also on our teamwork skills. “No one likes tests, but actually it was fine once I got into it, and I’m glad I didn’t turn away from the opportunity to become an apprentice just because there was some work involved at the beginning.” Push yourself “When I first started, I was working on the outside of council houses, and we also painted the classrooms in a school during the summer holidays shortly after I joined Novus. “Those early jobs were good, but I’ve taken more satisfaction from the times when I’ve really pushed myself, such as when we stripped and repainted the windows of a country club. It was a mansion house with Georgian-style windows and vines growing up the outside. “Standing back and looking at our work after we had finished was a great feeling.” Make friends “Right from the start, all the apprentices got along with one another really well. It really pays off to try and get on with everyone as much as you can. “One of the people I met during my first week entered some of the same competitions as me, and we are still mates to this day – I went over to Chester to visit him recently.” Enter competitions “I have entered a few competitions since I joined the Novus apprenticeship scheme, but last May I was lucky enough to win a regional heat of the Johnstone’s Young Painter of the Year competition. “The final was held at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, at the Painting and Decorating Show, and there were hundreds of people walking around and watching us in the final. “The final lasted two days, and on the second day I forgot to bring my headphones with me. As a result, I couldn’t escape having to talk to people and answer questions while I was trying to work! “Thankfully, it all turned out well in the end and I learned a great deal from it.” Enjoy the experience “In my first year at Novus, some apprentices got the opportunity to travel to events in the Netherlands and Slovenia. “At these events, we got the chance to meet with young decorators from all over the world, and we also got to learn how painting and decorating differs in other countries. “Learning about the products and techniques used in places like Slovenia was eye-opening, and meeting other young decorators from places like Norway, Italy, Germany and Switzerland was a fantastic experience – one I’d recommend to any apprentices who get the chance.”
PRESS OFFICE
Hannah O'Brien
Telephone: 07854 781631
Email: hannah.obrien@novussolutions.co.uk
SEARCH