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06 February 2023

Celebrating National Apprenticeship Week

Today marks the start of National Apprenticeship Week, where businesses and apprentices across the UK shine a light on the positive impact that apprenticeships make to individuals, businesses and the wider economy.

We are committed to supporting the next generation by providing apprenticeship opportunities and will spotlight some of our apprentices throughout the week.

Meet Jessa Lee, Quantity Surveyor who followed the apprenticeship route.

When I was in sixth form, the main route that teachers encouraged for leavers was full-time university, so I found myself making university applications despite not being too keen on the thought of more years of studying full-time.

I had been working on the side of school since my first paper round at 13, so the apprenticeship route seemed like a feasible option. This also meant that my university tuition fees were paid for; I would earn money and gain work experience.

Whilst at school various “traditional” career paths were presented such as working in finance, engineering, law, or medicine, but they didn’t really appeal to me. By chance, I stumbled across an application for quantity surveying at Stace – a job in the construction industry that I had never heard of before.

Reassured by my parents that I could always change career paths if this wasn’t for me, I decided to take the leap and work in this industry I knew nearly nothing about, and here I still am, really pleased that I took the chance.

Since joining Stace I haven’t looked back. Seeing projects develop and become real buildings that help real people is incredibly rewarding. I can travel around the country to various sites, meet so many new people through projects and events, and share my experiences with others to encourage students to consider the construction industry for their careers.

One way I have been able to promote working in the construction industry was with the opportunity to feature in a government campaign promoting technical education options after finishing school at 16 or 18. These include T levels, traineeships, apprenticeships, and higher technical qualifications, which can enable people to work whilst studying. It was a surreal experience, taking a day off to go to a film studio, getting my hair and makeup done, and then having dozens of people watching me launch off a springboard to land on a crashmat. There was even a stunt director giving me pointers for making the jump better for the cameras.

The Get the Jump campaign has been featured across the UK- I have spotted a few posters when visiting schools, in social media adverts and in tube stations. It has been such an honour to be chosen to represent the construction industry.

I have found my degree apprenticeship route so worthwhile, and whilst it can be pretty intensive having to study for a degree, other qualifications and working at the same time, it is a route I wish my teachers had talked more about.

If this is a path you’re considering, you can find apprenticeships across various sectors through the government Find an Apprenticeship service.

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