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Professional apprentice scores top grade

Building Student trainee completes course in style

Russell WBHO Building Student Sam Dickenson has been awarded a First Class Honours Degree in Quantity Surveying from the University of Salford.  The 23-year-old has now been appointed as assistant quantity surveyor with the Manchester main contractor in the specialist industrial, logistics, and temperature controlled storage team.

Russells’ award-winning professional apprenticeship programme combines on-the-job experience with a degree, supported by our training partner the University of Salford. Trainees undertake a part-time degree over the five years of the programme, attending classes one day a week while also working on live Russell WBHO projects.

Aligned with the degree, Building Students undertake in house training, enjoying rotation through the major departments of the business for the first two years. This provides an insight into all areas of the business, and gives the Building Students the chance to decide which specialism they want to follow for the remaining three years of the programme based on their site experience.

Students are assigned a mentor throughout their training, and are given one-to-one support by their line managers in each of the different departments. As trainees progress through the programme their level of responsibility and contribution increases working on the firm’s multi-million pound projects.

The four-strong 2021 cohort is set to begin the programme this August and applications open for the 2022 intake in October.

Sam, who joined the firm from Ashton-on-Mersey College in Sale, is delighted with his result and to be continuing his professional development with Russells.

He said: “It’s been five years of hard work but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. The company has given me so much support, I can’t thank them enough.

“All the people I’ve worked with, especially my mentors, have been fantastic and I’m really excited to be moving on to the position of assistant quantity surveyor with the best construction company in Manchester.”

Russell WBHO was named ‘Large Employer of the Year’ at the University of Salford Apprenticeship Awards in 2019, with the university acknowledging the success of the training programme.

Commercial director Nick Sunderland, who will continue to support Sam as his RICS counsellor while he completes his APC over the next year to become a chartered surveyor, said the training programme is one of the best in the industry.

Nick said: “We have an excellent training programme with more than 200 applicants every year. We have a rigorous selection process with senior managers assessing each application carefully to select the very best of those applicants; young people we know will work hard, who have the ability to succeed, and who will fit into the ethos of this business.

“The Building Student programme is crucial to the future of the business, it is part of our succession planning and ensures a high calibre of young talent coming into the business to support our growth. We are investing in the business by investing in the team.

“The strength of this scheme is how thorough the training is, through this combination of academic and practical learning with a highly respected university, and how quickly the trainees are brought up to speed. By Year 2 they are undertaking work which brings real value to the business, and their progression to qualification provides us with a reassuring stability for the future of our construction departments.

“It is incredibly satisfying to see a young man like Sam qualify so successfully. He has worked very hard over the last five years and has become very good at what he does, he is a strong team player and a great asset to the commercial department.”

For more information about the Building Student programme visit and keep an eye out on Linked In for application details.