My Story, by Estimator Aidan Bannon
I joined Russells aged 18 after leaving school with A-Levels in English, Geography and PE as a ‘professional apprentice’.
Funded by the company, I secured a place on the BSc (Hons) Construction Project Management course at Salford University, a well-respected course which is recognised and accredited by both RICS and CIOB. It meant going to uni one day a week for five years, and working in the office with the Russells team the rest of the time.
This combination of work and a part-time degree course provided a fantastic opportunity for me to establish a career and gain industry-leading qualifications. The academic assessment complemented the on-the-job experience I was gaining day-to-day and, crucially, the broader appreciation of working and succeeding in a professional working environment.
I went on to achieve a 2:1 and since then have obtained my CIOB Professional Accreditation and am currently working towards full RICS chartered status, with the support of my employer once again.
Gaining five years’ work experience was invaluable and gave me the edge over many who simply did the degree and then went out to find a job. Being supported by an employer meant I didn’t require a student loan, as Russells paid all my tuition fees. I didn’t incur any student debt and in fact earned a wage throughout which enabled me to purchase a car and a flat. Then there’s the added bonus of already having a job at the end of your qualification, when everyone else is vying for those few opportunities and graduate traineeships.
One of the biggest benefits of the scheme was that I didn’t really know what I wanted to do when I was 18. But working in the office from day one, you get an amazing insight into all the different roles and opportunities within an organisation. In my time at Russells I’ve worked within the estimating and cost management department and have established myself as an Estimator after having particularly enjoyed assisting senior colleagues in that department.
Reassuringly, if I had changed my mind after finishing the degree, I was only 23 and had a highly regarded degree and five years on my CV, all of which would have opened doors to many other career opportunities if I so wished. But I didn’t change my mind. I love it here, I really appreciate the investment Russells has made in training me to be a highly-qualified and experienced construction professional. I have made some great friends here and feel I am well-respected among my peers and by my managers and directors. I enjoy the staff social events and have led a number of charity fundraisers, all with the support of the rest of the team. It was the best decision I ever made!