Sam Holdcroft has just completed a Degree Apprenticeship in Chartered Surveying at Level 6 with the University College of Estate Management. He is now a Graduate Estates and Valuation Surveyor in Property and Estates with Stoke-on-Trent City Council. Read out interview with Sam as he shares his experiences as an apprentice.

How did your apprenticeship journey begin?

“When I left Newcastle College having done a BTEC Diploma in Business I was still uncertain about what I wanted to do. I applied to the City Council for a Business Level 3 Apprenticeship because it was a big organisation with a lot of different job opportunities and career pathways. I started in the Executive Support team and worked closely with the then City Director at the time. I was lucky in that this position allowed me to gain experience in different areas of the Council including Property and Estates. It was a great way of getting an insight into different careers. As soon as I had spent time in Property and Estates – I knew it was for me.  I was then lucky enough to be offered a Degree Apprenticeship in Chartered Surveying and started it in 2019.”

How would you sum up the apprenticeship experience?  What were the best aspects of your apprenticeship?

“It has been a positive experience despite the disruption caused by the Covid pandemic and having to be at home during lock-down which meant I was unable to learn by being physically around professional colleagues in the workplace during this time. The apprenticeship delivery itself has been virtually all on-line with a small number of face-to-face workshops in Reading (the University College base). Overall however this flexibility has suited me well although I know that other people prefer more face-to-face delivery.”

What did you do as an apprentice surveyor day-to-day and what is your job now?

“As part of my job I support the Corporate Property Team with ensuring that the City Council’s estate operates efficiently and effectively. I undertake various different aspects of work including; leasing and letting negotiations, completing both acquisitions and disposals of various different property types and also providing advice on the City Council’s landlord and tenant obligations in respect to repairs and maintenance.”

What difference has the apprenticeship made to you?

“I have gained a degree, the apprenticeship standard and also passed the Assessment of Professional Competence to become a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors as well as gaining substantial employment experience. No student debt either. It has made a big difference to my confidence, knowledge and skills at work. I would like to think also that it has made a significant difference to the quality and the professionalism of the work I do as a Graduate Estates and Valuation Surveyor.”

Where do you see yourself going from here?

“I am looking forward to a successful career as a Estates and Valuation Surveyor in the public sector and moving into management or specialist roles in the future.”

What would be your advice, hints and tips for other staff either contemplating or actually beginning an apprenticeship? 

“I think people don’t always realise how good apprenticeships can be with the right organisation. My advice would be that if you are thinking of studying to degree level, to consider an apprenticeship pathway. I felt that working within the professional environment at the same time as undertaking my assignments helped me greatly. Whist you may not have the university life-style I much preferred learning from the professionals that I work with and gaining hands-on experience on a daily basis.”

Sam’s current manager is Martin Cowell (Interim Estates Manager) and says:

 ‘….I first worked with Sam two years ago as the Interim Estates, Property & Facilities Manager during part of his apprenticeship and more recently over the last three months leading up to full RICS membership.  Although I have not worked with Sam over a lengthy period of time I can say nevertheless that Sam has been an ideal candidate for learning procedures and professional standards with support from the wider team. His successful outcome speaks volumes for his commitment and dedication – Sam is a highly valued member of the team with a very bright future…’