Yesterday, we heard from Sean, one of our Operations Placement students who is based at St Modwen Park Derby, and the next in our series of Year In Industry Q&As is with Sam, a Commercial Placement student who is also based at the same East Midlands project. Sam was aware of Winvic from driving past many of our sites and he hasn’t been disappointed with the decision to join our on-site year-our programme, saying “the experience is second to none”. He’s our only student this year to come from Sheffield Hallam University, where he’s undertaking a BSc in Quantity Surveying.
As you’ll read below, Sam has been gradually taking on more and more responsibilities as a Trainee Quantity Surveyor and he explains how seeing the first package he got involved with procuring be installed and come to life was the best feeling. He’s visited four other projects and his mini placement in our Commercial, IT and Accounts department was a real eye opener.
What projects have you been working on?
I’ve been based at one project through my placement, St Modwen Park Derby, which comprises five industrial units ranging from approximately 27,000 sq ft to 145,000 sq ft. This second phase totalling 350,000 sq ft logistics space is in addition to the first four facilities totalling 300,000 sq ft, which Winvic also constructed.
The first unit in this phase was handed over before Christmas, three will be completed across January and February, and the last handover will be in June. As a lot of the commercial activity has been completed at this stage of the scheme, the quantity surveyor who I’ve been working with, Jon, is going to be moving on to another project in Burton. I’m not sure yet whether I’ll move onto that site with him. It would be nice to see the start of a project, so that I’ve seen the whole cycle, but also great to see the Derby project through to the end!
In July I visited the Bessemer Park industrial scheme in Sheffield, Kent Street Baths multi-room project in Birmingham and my placement with design took me to Coventry Gateway. I’m going to the civils and infrastructure project, I also had the opportunity to attend a company meeting at West Midlands Interchange, and got to see some of the works whilst I was there.
How did you come across Winvic and what made you choose us?
I’d passed quite a lot of Winvic’s projects, such as SEGRO Logistics East Midlands Gateway and East Midlands Distribution Centre, which are close to my home, and Sylvester Street in Sheffield, which is near my shared house at university. So I was well aware that Winvic are a big construction company when I spoke to Suleman, one of last year’s Year In Industry commercial placement students, at the Sheffield Hallam University careers fair.
I was going away for a month and half over Christmas last year and Winvic was the only company that responded quickly and accommodated me with an interview before I was going. I think I’d signed my letter of acceptance with Winvic by the time others got back to me. I immediately liked their pace of working and it demonstrated how efficient they were. The interview went well, they were interested in me and so I got everything organised before my holiday. I’m glad of my decision because it’s been a fantastic placement and the experience is second to none.
What responsibilities have you had in the last 5 months?
My day-to-day tasks have included sending out enquiries to suppliers for the different packages, being involved in pre-order meetings to talk subcontractors through contract terms and conditions, sending out pre-order documentation and issuing orders. After the order has been placed, if the nature of the work changes, then I’ll obtain the information and send out documents regarding the variations.
Then payments are a big thing each month. Jon, the quantity surveyor, was marking down the ones that were ok for me to pay but in the last month or so, I’ve been taking the initiative to evaluate and value against what’s been claimed for. I’ve been out on site to check what has been completed on packages such as painting and decorating, internal concrete slabs and fencing, then I’ve reported what I think is and isn’t accurate to Jon and he’s given me the approvals to undertake the next step. That is creating the payment documentation and uploading it on to the accounting system.
I completed my Commercial, IT and Accounts placements at head office just a couple of weeks ago and it was quite an eye opener, especially the commercial side with tenders and orders. It really reiterated how important it is for a quantity surveyor to ensure their work is accurate and that all documents are clear and concise. Attention to detail is crucial for the accounts and legally binding documents or it could affect the business in a number of ways.
What has been your best day on site so far?
Probably when the soft flooring started to be installed because early on in my placement, I had undertaken the enquiries, obtained quotes and created the orders. This was the first package that I got involved with and it was the best feeling to see something that I procured then come to life.
What’s it like being part of the Winvic team?
They’ve created an environment where people want to come to work and it’s really positive because everyone pulls together to reach the end goal, and we have a good time whilst we’re working towards that goal. The team is welcoming and helpful and there’s always someone to turn to if there are any problems, whether that’s Jon, the project manager or the site manager I’m really grateful for this opportunity and for all the advice and guidance everyone has given me.