Experience is Vital in Construction

By Ricky Savery
TGM Contractors at Clarges Mayfair

08 Mar 2017

I think it’s vital for anyone studying construction to gain practical experience within the industry at the same time. You learn so much more when you’re working alongside studying as most modules can be applied in practice. Colleges and universities should make it a necessity.

Before starting with TGM at Clarges Mayfair, I’d worked in different sectors, like security and retail. I’d also completed business BTEC and A Level photography, and began studying banking and finance at Cass Business School, but I realised that banking wasn’t for me. 

I was interested in construction, so I enrolled on the Quantity Surveying and Commercial Management BSc Honours course at the University of Westminster in September 2015. I went for the interview with TGM at Clarges Mayfair a year later and started in October 2016. When I got offered the role, it was an amazing feeling.

I do three days a week with TGM and two days at university. When I graduate, I’ll have a degree that’s accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB). I’ll also have a lot of practical experience under my belt and a guaranteed job.

Working in construction supports my degree significantly. There’s so much that you pick up on the job. When you have lectures, a lot of the terminology can go over your head. But when you’ve worked in construction you understand what things mean, so the information is more digestible. 

Plus, the TGM Directors, Sean McCullagh and Peter Tierney, really help me apply what I have learned, which assists with my coursework. I think that’s one of the advantages of working with a smaller company; it’s a smaller team so they treat you as an individual and you get more time with people.

Most of the people I’m working with have got over 20 years’ experience, so I learn a lot from them. I go around the Clarges development with the Quality Assurance Manager, Matt Lee, and Technical Director, Mark Buckley, making sure all the drylining is built to the highest standard by snagging our work.

Clarges Mayfair is a brilliant project to work on because of the quality of the scheme. TGM is training and moulding me so I’ll understand the standard to be delivered on all projects. It’s definitely a benefit for a company when they get somebody who is starting out on their career and can be shaped in this way. 

Before I joined TGM, I had this vision of how I would be treated starting out. I thought people would shrug me off by giving me insignificant tasks, thinking ‘oh, he’s just an apprentice’. It’s so much better than I expected. Everyone is really supportive. Not only at TGM but the main contractor Laing O’Rourke too. They answer any questions I may have and allow me to attend commercial and progress meetings.

My perception of what construction was like has changed too. I thought of it as dirty, dusty sites but it’s much more than that. At Clarges Mayfair, there’s a lot of focus on health and safety, on the Considerate Constructors Scheme and quality. There are so many different types of project. I recently went to see a commercial project with TGM to get insights into that side of construction.

I’m excited about the future. TGM is quite a young company and I want to help them develop. Through my studies, I’m familiar with the latest technologies and have learned skills. So, when I spot opportunities to do things more efficiently, I tell the team and they’re always interested to hear. 

I would encourage all young people to work alongside studying. It’s good for businesses too. They get to develop people how they want them, shaping the future workforce and gaining loyalty.

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