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National Apprenticeship Week at Walker Sime: Anthony Watson

Anthony Watson

This National Apprenticeship Week, we asked Anthony Watson, one of our quantity surveying (QS) apprentices, to share his experiences, motivations and the skills he’s learned as an apprentice with Walker Sime.

What apprenticeship pathway are you on?

When I started my apprenticeship pathway I was originally doing three days in the office and two full-time days in university (although technically it’s still a full-time degree). I now work four days a week at the Walker Sime Liverpool office and spend one full day at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), gaining more hands-on learning experience. I am due to conclude my time at LJMU in May, hopefully graduating June/July time. I’ll be starting full-time employment with Walker Sime in May!

What has surprised you the most during your apprenticeship journey?

I am fairly new to the apprenticeship route (as I didn’t do a year-out placement like most students in my year), but what has surprised me the most in such a short time is the expert knowledge that the people I work with at Walker Sime have been able to pass on. It’s been such an eye opener. University has a different approach to teaching students about the QS profession, so I would say the most surprising thing has been being educated about QS in a more practical way compared to university.

In your opinion, what stands out as the most significant advantage of taking the apprenticeship route over pursuing a degree full time?

I would say it’s the level of exposure you get to the industry. You pick up things working for a company like Walker Sime in a more practical, usable way, compared to sitting in a library or classroom all day, where you don’t have the opportunity to witness the knowledge being applied first hand like you do on the apprentice route. That applies on site and in the office.

What motivated you to choose an apprenticeship with Walker Sime?

What motivated me the most about pursuing an apprenticeship at Walker Sime was the way I was approached in the first place. My experience might be different to others as I did not go through university to access the industry. It was more of a personal pursuit, trying to prove myself at a company within the industry. I emailed and called as many firms as possible and I received a call back from Clare Gilmour at Walker Sime. The way Walker Sime trusted me to come in on work experience I thought was fantastic. I was being given an opportunity no one had offered me before. This motivated me to do everything I could to try and earn a place at Walker Sime.

What is the toughest part about this route?

There are many challenges about being on an apprenticeship route. I am still technically on a full-time degree as well as being an apprentice at Walker Sime, so one challenging aspect would be the organisation it takes to manage my time in doing both university work (i.e. dissertation and exams) while also trying to be involved as much as possible with my QS work at the Liverpool office. Nevertheless, I am really enjoying the busy aspect of this route.

What’s the most valuable lesson or skill you’ve gained during your apprenticeship at Walker Sime?

I joined Walker Sime in November 2023 as an official employee and I’ve already picked up lots of subtle things that I’ve been able to put into my university and Walker Sime work, like how to be more professional when approaching tasks. However, if we are talking about specific skills gained at Walker Sime, it would be measuring on Bluebeam and interpreting data into different documents. Valuable lessons would include having conversations with the guys at the Liverpool office. Conversations like these go a long way towards learning lessons about the QS profession for a 21-year-old, and I don’t take these for granted.

What project that you worked on at Walker Sime has made you feel really proud?

In my short time here, I have been shown some interesting projects whether that be getting involved in measurements, reading briefs, cost reports or even being in meeting briefings about projects. One project I have been involved in very recently would be the work on BAE Project Spartan, which is a modern facility for BAE staff in Barrow. My involvement has been doing measurements for certain elements using Bluebeam. Another major project that I have been excited about has got to be the Liverpool Waters project. It’s very close to our office and is a major development in my own city. I believe when this project is completed it will play a major part in helping regenerate the Liverpool waterfront, especially with the new Everton Bramley Moore Stadium so close to completion.

Sound like an industry you’d like to be a part of? Let’s have a chat about doing some work experience with us, so you can find out if it’s the right role for you. Please get in touch with us at careers@walkersime.co.uk