Updated: Aug 28
Iconic Project Management’s apprentice project manager on becoming an apprentice and choosing project management courses
Hi. I’m Oscar and I’m Iconic’s new apprentice project manager. I recently passed my A levels and am eager to begin my career in construction project management. Here’s why I chose to undertake an apprenticeship through Iconic Project Management.
A varied career in construction project management
I decided that a career in construction project management was right for me because I’ve watched more than my fair share of Grand Designs and I’m pretty sure I could help the clients avoid a lot of the disasters you see there. I love the opportunity to work with a wide range of people on a wide range of projects. I’m excited to travel around the country, seeing new places and watching projects develop from start to finish.
Choosing a construction project management course
Having decided that I wanted to be a construction project manager, I knew that I’d need to train and get the right qualifications. I looked at university courses and found that there are a number of universities around the UK that offer BSc honours degrees in construction project management.
I knew that my exam grades were likely to be good enough to meet entry requirements, but I wasn’t sure about going away to university.
I believe that, when working in a practical field like construction, gaining experience in the working world is valuable. I feel experience is needed as well as just education, because it allows me to become a more well-rounded person, add to my knowledge of the construction industry and develop my inter-personal skills.
An apprenticeship gives a head start
I chose an apprenticeship instead of going to study full time at a university because I feel that it is a more direct route to kickstart my career and will get me closer to being employed as a fully qualified project manager. Not only will I be fully qualified at the end of my apprenticeship, but I’ll also have gained five year’s professional practice at the same time.
The reason I decided to start my career as a project manager with Iconic was because they offered an extremely hands-on and helpful approach to supporting me through my learning. They set up a new apprenticeship scheme through the University of Estate Management (UCEM) and I’ll spend the next nearly five years completing their Chartered Surveyor Degree Apprenticeship.
This 56-57 month apprenticeship will largely be spent in study via distance learning for a BSc (Hons) Construction Management. Then, on my successful completion of the RICS Assessment of Professional Competence, I’ll become a chartered surveyor (MRICS).
Why did we choose this course?
Iconic Project Management chose this particular course for their apprenticeship scheme because it will give them skills that they need in the business while offering opportunity to people at the start of their career. UCEM had been recommended and they were really helpful in setting the scheme up.
The course itself looks really interesting. Modules I’ll be studying include:
Law for the Built Environment
Measurement and Quantification of Construction Work
Contract Administration and Practice
Construction Site Management
Commercial Management in Construction
As an apprentice, I’ll spend one day a week studying and the rest of the week working as a project manager. I’ll have homework to fit in around that too, so I’ll be busy. Iconic allow me to keep my work separate from my study and will mentor me throughout the apprenticeship process.
Will I miss out if I don’t go to university?
Friends have asked if I’ll miss out on the university social life, but I don’t think I will. I have a very good work-life balance and, although I am busy, I’m not over-worked. This balance allows me to spend the weekends and evenings seeing my friends.
Another advantage to doing a degree apprenticeship instead of going to university is the money. All my tuition fees are paid by the company and the government, so I don’t have to pay a penny for my degree. In fact, I’ll be earning a pretty decent salary for my age while I’m studying. I’m really pleased that I won’t graduate with massive debts.
The fact that I’m earning money at Iconic allows me to plan activities that I wouldn’t be able to afford to do if I was going to university. These activities include booking a holiday to Tenerife with my girlfriend and going on a shooting weekend in Leeds with one of my colleagues. It also means I can save money towards buying my own home which is something I’m keen to do.
I don’t feel that not going to university is preventing me from ‘growing-up’ because the apprenticeship has given me a direct route to adulthood. It is presenting me with numerous responsibilities and kick starting my career.
I’ll be meeting lots of people, from all walks of life, learning new skills, and being mentored by the best project managers around. It’s great to be part of this Iconic team.
Oscar is our first degree apprentice. He has recently completed A-levels in Philosophy and Ethics, History and Business. He is studying with UCEM towards BSc (hons) in Construction Management with MRICS.
When completed he will achieve his ambition of becoming a chartered surveyor.