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My Apprenticeship Story: Rap Estimator Conor Fox

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Rap Interiors

We at Rap Interiors are big advocates of apprenticeship schemes. They are a great way of getting work experience, learning new skills, and setting you up for the future. We’ve welcomed many apprentices over the years, including Conor Fox, who has gone on to become a full time estimator. Read about his experience starting out at our office fit out company, and how he went on to secure a job!

What inspired you to get into estimating?

I did a week’s work experience for a construction company when I was in year ten at school, and ever since then I wanted to pursue my career in quantity surveying. In that week’s work experience, I found out what I wanted to do. It was something completely different, and I was going into a work environment that I’d never experienced before. I visited three different sites, and also attended a meeting with a client.

There was also a big folder of stuff to go through – it took hours but that’s when I learned how to do take-offs, which is essential knowledge when you’re working for a fit out company. I started off doing CAD (Computer Aided Design) when I first came here, which did come in handy because I was doing a CAD unit at college. But when I started full time I was doing a bit of pricing and drawing and then I knew what I wanted to do – which wasn’t design. And I just went from there. Two years later – I’m still here!

What was you first week at Rap like?

I started here doing work experience one day a week. Then at the end of July 2015 I did my first full week full time. I remember one day me and Scott went up to London to do site clearances, and we started at half four in the morning! I think I got back at half five in the evening. So that was quite memorable. But again the experiences of going on site, into people’s offices, and meeting new clients was excellent.

What advice would you give to young people?

Office fit out companies are always going to need people because it’s something that’s always going to be in demand. You’re always going to be building stuff, and you’re always going to be doing refurbishment stuff. There’s always going to be a demand for construction no matter where you go. Apprenticeships are probably the best thing to do because you’re getting experience and education at the same time. Essentially you can speed the process up and just get out there.

I’m lucky because I knew what I wanted to do. I already knew the paths I wanted to take, and how I wanted to do it. If you’re not sure you need to research into it a bit more. So if you want to be a project manager, take a look at what courses are relevant to project management.

What are your hopes for the future?

I’d like to work my way up the chain. I’d like to just be fully qualified and have that backing. At the moment I’ve got my college qualification, but now I need something more than that to make me fully qualified. I’m competent at my job but I still have gaps in my knowledge. So that is the aim for me – to be fully qualified as a quantity surveyor.

What qualifications do you have?

I’ve got all my standard GCSEs, but the main one is my college qualifications from Maidstone Mid-Kent. I’ve got a level 3 B-TEC in construction and civil engineering, which covers the whole aspect of building.

Was it your intention to get into estimating or were you just going with the flow?

The main area I want to be in is quantity surveying, which is basically the same thing as what I’m doing now. Obviously I’m more involved with pricing, whereas QS’s don’t get too involved with that side of things, but it’s definitely going in the right direction. Again, working for an office fit out company has furthered my knowledge and built it up even more. At college I didn’t even know how a wall was built, or how long it would take and how much it would cost.

How did you get on board with Rap Interiors?

Word of mouth. I knew a colleague’s daughter, and found out that her Dad worked for a fit out company. Obviously I knew what I wanted to do so I just asked if I could be put in touch and arrange some work experience? It just started off as one day a week and then I managed to get a job out of it. I was very lucky really.

Are you looking to get into construction?

Get in contact with Rap Interiors, one of the South East’s leading office fit out companies, to find out about our apprenticeship and work experience opportunities. Call us on 0333 600 1234 or email refurb@rapinteriors.co.uk.