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In the second of our trainee stories series, we meet Chris Mitchell, who’s studying hard for a master’s degree, an RICS chartership and a great future in quantity surveying.

Hi Chris, what do you do here at Arc Partnership?

I’m an assistant quantity surveyor, but I’ve had a few roles over the last few years. I joined Arc right at the beginning, after being an estimator at Nottinghamshire County Council, and the move gave me the opportunity to take a different direction. I wanted to go more into quantity surveying, and the business got behind me, so I became a trainee. After two years in that role, I’ve progressed to assistant QS – but I’m not quite done with learning yet!

What appealed to you about becoming a quantity surveyor?

For me, it’s a more interesting role, with better opportunities. I wanted to get my QS qualifications and my managers thought that was a good idea. They really supported me with it, so that’s how the whole thing started.

Did you have to go to university to get your qualifications?

Yes! I’m still there actually, even though I’ve moved on from the trainee title. I’m doing an MSc in quantity surveying at Nottingham Trent University. I spend a day a week at university during term time and I’ll be finishing this summer. I’ve lived in Nottingham most of my life, so I’ve been really lucky to get the opportunity to do such a good course right on my doorstep.

What’s it like being a student again?

Well, I’ve been estimating for a long time – I’m 36 now – so I’m a mature student, but the whole experience has been great. I’m studying procurement strategies at the moment, so that’s really relevant to what I’m doing at Arc. Learning alongside my day job means I can put what I’m studying into practice straightaway.

How do you get that work-study-life balance right?

It’s a bit of a challenge! There’s always reading or writing to do in the evenings and I’m just starting my dissertation, so there’s quite a bit ahead of me. When you get the opportunity to do something like this, you don’t realise how much work it’s going to be – but it’s satisfying too.

So what’s your dissertation on?

I’m doing it on risk management because that’s something I find interesting and I know it’s going to be useful in an organisation like Arc. Over the next few months I’ll be interviewing people in senior positions about their approach to risk management and collating all of that information.

How has your day job changed over the last few years?

When I was an estimator, I was just given the designers’ drawings to go out and price. Now I’m getting more into the QS role, I’m involved throughout the whole project process, from start to finish. I’m brought in at an earlier stage to look at the risk of potential problems and how they could impact on costs.

Do you get plenty of support from the Arc team?

Yes, the senior guys are always ready to help when I’ve got queries. Once I’ve got my master’s, I want to get chartered with RICS – the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors – so I’m already working towards that and they’re giving me work that will help me meet the RICS criteria.

We’ve got a new trainee QS now too, so it’s nice to be able to help him along. It feels like I’m finally coming full circle with this whole learning process.

Look out for more trainee stories here on our news page soon.

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