Construction Apprentice recognised by the University

Categories: School of Science, Engineering and Environment

To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, the University of Salford awards outstanding individuals that are part of the scheme the accolade of Apprentice of the Year. 

The 2022 winner from the School of Science, Engineering and Environment (SEE) is Quantity Surveying Degree Apprentice Bethany O’Neill. Dr Justine Cooper, Lecturer in Building Surveying at the University of Salford, nominated Bethany who is currently working as a Commercial Management Trainee at construction company Willmott Dixon. She said: “Bethany is a great ambassador for Women in Construction and embodies everything you would want in an apprentice; professional, hardworking, excellent communicator and an outstanding team player.

“With a degree apprenticeship it is a case of balancing work alongside studies and Bethany has relished the challenge, producing work to an exceptional standard.  I am delighted she has been recognised with this award as it follows her accolade of being Apprentice Ambassador in 2018.”

We asked Bethany some questions to discover more about her pathway of study and what she has found to be the advantages of pursuing an apprenticeship.

What made you choose to do an apprentice degree?

Full time study was not my first choice - that is why I started to look at Degree Apprenticeships and that is when I came across the partnership Willmott Dixon had with The University of Salford. It allowed me to work full-time and receive extensive experience whilst studying part-time with my fees paid.

The apprenticeship has allowed me to go from a school leaver at 18 with no experience to a skilled professional in the industry in 5 years.  The appeal to me was the ability to get hands-on experience and the support from the University’s industry partners whilst studying. It has also allowed me to help expose these opportunities available in the sector to young people, especially women.

What stood out to you about The University of Salford when you were searching for a place to study for your apprentice degree?

The Built Environment courses have an excellent reputation and when I came to visit the University, I was impressed with the facilities they had.  I like how the modules are blended which allowed me to balance my learning in Quantity Surveying with Project Management.  I also had the chance to work with architects which has prepared me to be well versed in the industry. 

What would you describe your time on the apprenticeship?

It has been challenging and time management has been critical.  The help and support I got from the University and my employer have been brilliant.  I have met some amazing people during my 5 years on the programme and at the age of 23 I feel that the world is my oyster.

What has been your highlight?

Receiving my First Class degree and graduating as an Assistant Project Surveyor!  I am proud of what I have been able to achieve in such a condensed learning period and I have enjoyed sharing my experience with other young people who are considering an apprenticeship.  I love being an ambassador for the programme and opening the eyes of other females who want to work in this sector. 

What are your plans, and how has your apprentice degree prepared you for this?

I am now working full-time for Willmott Dixon and am working on the City Centre Campus for Manchester College. I am also due to sit my APC to receive my charterships with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. Moving forward I want to be the best surveyor that I can be and continue to mentor those who want to start a career in construction. 

Find out more about the Degree Apprenticeships available at Salford.

Bethany O'Neill

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