A week in the life of... a degree apprentice

Hmra Babar gives us an insight into her working week as Apprentice Building Control Surveyor

8th Feb 2021 - Corporate news
By  Hmra Babar

Monday 18 January

Life in lockdown as a Midland Heart Apprentice is still interesting! My week begins focused on completing a project for my line manager Tony, which is to create a snagging check list for the development team. I spend the morning making the final adjustments and send my colleague a copy of the final version for their approval.

After a walk on my lunch break, I take some time to check my emails and respond to any that I may have. Being an apprentice means I don’t always understand some of the terminology that I come across, so I decide to research what section agreements are and what the different types mean as I'm unsure. I finish my day off with a meeting to discuss the final version of the check list.

Tuesday 19 January

My lectures for University typically take place on a Wednesday, however, as University is not due to resume until the latter part of January, and considering that I am busier tomorrow, I decide to have a look one of my assignments. My degree requires me to research the information for assignments largely by myself, with minimal guidance from the lecturers. I find this is a very useful skill to have, because sometimes google just does not have the answer!

I spend most of the day assembling my assignment and adding the information I have independently sourced.

Wednesday 20 January

I check on my diary for the rest of the week and notice I have a few meetings coming up towards the end of the week, so I decide to do some prep for them. I also take time to update my ‘off the job training’ diary. As part of my degree, I must demonstrate that I have used certain key skills and behaviours by recording them over the course of five years so it’s important I keep it up to date.

After my break and catching up with the other Midland Heart apprentices, I start to look at potential site visits I can attend with the project managers, so I can gather evidence for my degree and get some more hands-on experience. I end the day by having a talk with my colleague Scott, about the checklist we created earlier in the week.

Thursday 21 January

My first meeting is a progress update from one of our contractors, about one of Midland Heart’s sites in Leicester. I sit in on these meetings with project managers to gain an understanding of the content. The meetings usually cover health and safety records on our sites, potential handover dates, outstanding paperwork etc. This way I can gain experience in having technical conversations, widen my knowledge and be aware of issues I may face in my own role when I am able to work independently.

My second meeting of the day is a Construction and Development meeting. Most of the Development team get together for this meeting and discuss what’s going well with work, any issues and just a general catch up. I look forward to this meeting every month as I don’t always get to see everyone in my team regularly, especially during the Pandemic. Everyone is particularly excited during this meeting as our Director, Chris, has arranged a general knowledge quiz for later tonight!

I set my laptop up around 7:30pm ready for our quiz. It was so much fun, and I really enjoyed interacting with my team in an informal way, it was very refreshing.

Friday 22 January

Today I have my executive mentoring session with Joe Reeves, Executive Director of Finance and Growth. These mentoring sessions are extremely useful in aiding us to understand the company, how it works as one unit and where we may need to improve to reach our goals as a business. I start by updating Joe on how I’m progressing academically and within the business and Joe also updates me on what he’s been doing in work which I find very exciting. I take this opportunity to ask Joe if he would mind me shadowing him for a day or so in work, he kindly accepts, but we agree that it should be put on hold until it is safe to do so in person. I ask Joe for advice in matters I have struggled with since our last meeting and he always offers me great advice that I take on board and share with the other Apprentices too.

It’s then time for a catch up with my line manager. We use this time every week to discuss how I am getting on and Tony also helps me with any questions I have about my academic work.

We then have our weekly meetings with Project Managers and the Defects team separately to check on the progress of our developments. This meeting helps us to identify common trends and where we might need to improve. Tony often asks us to input our ideas for improvements and if they are good ideas they get used! I use the last part of my day to write in my work diary, usually about what I have done at work in the previous week, and to remind myself of anything I need to do in the following week.

And for one more final step to my week… enjoy the weekend!