VolkerFitzpatrick hosts 'A week in the life of a quantity surveyor' to give students a real life insight into the role.

At our Tame Valley Viaduct site in Birmingham, VolkerFitzpatrick hosted a three-day event entitled 'A week in the life of a quantity surveyor', for the second year running. The aim of the event was to give students a real-life insight into the role, which will aid them in their final-year dissertations.

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Project Surveyor, Hayden Scarth, alongside Surveyor Ambah Ellis, and Assistant Surveyor Joss Brannigan, led the event, which was attended by 45, full-time, year three students studying Quantity Surveying at Nottingham Trent University (NTU). Over the three days, the VolkerFitzpatrick team provided several workshops at the university and site visits for the students whilst setting project related tasks.

At the site where VolkerFitzpatrick is currently strengthening the existing Tame Valley viaduct, students got to witness first-hand the complexities of trying to work in and around challenging stakeholder environments such as live roads, live railways, businesses, and rivers.

They also got to spend time in a mock-up box girder (the enclosed tube that forms part of the viaduct) and received a real-life demonstration from our subcontractor (Mines Rescue Services) undertaking an emergency rescue procedure. This enabled them to see for themselves the challenges of working in confined spaces. The workshops and set tasks enabled the students to apply their theoretical knowledge, taught at university, to a real-world project and gave them an important insight to the world of being a Quantity Surveyor. Students were able to see the real complexities and challenges of a live site.


Wayne Clarke, BSc Hons Lecturer, Nottingham Trent University, School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment, commented: “At NTU, we would like to personally thank VolkerFitzpatrick for another successful year at delivering the Week in the Life of a Qs programme. This is the second year of collaboration between NTU and VolkerFitzpatrick and our students have really embraced the experience provided. The exposure to the live Aston Expressway project in Birmingham, combined with the industry related activities, gives a great opportunity to the full-time Quantity Surveying students in their final year of study. It enables them to learn new industry skills that they wouldn’t have ordinarily been exposed to, having not completed a year out in industry. This programme also gives them a great introduction to their final year at NTU and the industry as a whole. We hope to keep this programme running for many years to come and build upon its success”.

The three-day event
On the first day of the event, Hayden set the scene at NTU with the 45 students, informing them of the local history around the A38(M) Aston Expressway Tame Valley Viaduct site, the need for the project and about some of the general surveying practices undertaken each day. Specifically, they discussed the change management process, application for payment and procurement procedures.

On the second day, Ambah and Joss hosted an interactive workshop to the first group of 25 students about change management and the application process. The workshop, involved drafting and issuing contract notices, quantifying, and then valuing additional works making use of the students' measurement skills learnt at university.

The other 20 students remained at university and participated in a procurement workshop with Hayden. This provided the students an opportunity to work in smaller groups to compose an 'invitation to tender' for their own package of works, and generate conversation about what sort of documents, assumptions, requirements, and attendances may be required. Each team of students then presented their package to the rest of the group to stimulate conversation about their chosen package. The following day both groups swapped over.