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At Chisholm & Winch, we believe that attracting talent should be a top priority for companies across our sector. Especially in our current economic climate where the skills shortage combines with our already significant labour crisis.

At Chisholm & Winch, we generally try to have at least one management trainee within the company at any one time. In the last few years, we’ve had five trainees under our wing completing their degree in either construction management or quantity surveying.

One such trainee currently in our ranks is twenty-three-year-old, Luca Capacci, who is undertaking his degree in quantity surveying (QS) at London South Bank university whilst working at the company simultaneously.

Front-Line Experience

Whilst pursuing his QS degree, Luca is also working on some prestigious projects at Chisholm & Winch, including the refurbishment of the Heathrow Airport cargo tunnel with main contractor, MACE.

“I completed my BTEC (Business and Technology Education Council) in sports science, business studies and IT at college, which provided a useful stepping stone on my career path in construction,” explains Luca.

“I go to university one day a week as well as working at Chisholm & Winch. I’ve been given significant responsibility on live projects which has really helped my skills and learning as I’m on the front-line, learning from the best. I get involved in the projects from day one which is fantastic for me, especially on such a high-profile job such as Heathrow.”

The scope of works in the cargo tunnel at Heathrow includes the breakout and removal of concrete walkways and handrails, removal of the plenum ceiling, concrete repairs and installation of a new passive fire protection (PFP) lining. The 20-strong team from Chisholm & Winch fits around the busy schedule of the UK’s only hub airport, including night working as the tunnel is in constant use during the day.

 

Luca explains what a typical day at work on site can look like for him:

“I compile reports to show the progress of a project, as well as monitoring risks and look at areas which may affect profitability. I also have a lot of contact with the client – visiting site and attending progress meetings. We advise clients on any issues that may potentially arise and give an update on how the project is going.”

Career Progression

“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do as a career at college, but someone recommended looking into Quantity Surveying, which I’m glad I did as I really enjoy my job and the training alongside it.”

Talking about the benefits of this approach, Luca said: “Construction can be a lucrative career, and my knowledge and learning after the five-year QS course alongside the practical experience I am gaining on site, is far more beneficial than if I were to just go to university.

I feel I have gained an understanding of contracts very quickly and I can find and provide solutions more easily – which is something you can’t teach and can only gain from experience.

When I finish my degree, I will have almost 10 years of relevant experience, compared to someone else of my age who has just graduated with no experience, or very little.”

At Chisholm & Winch, we support Luca in his work and study, providing him with a mentor, Mark Read, who is also a QS at the company. Luca also has regular contact with the Managing Director, Simon Castle, to discuss his progress and career goals.

Luca said he values the continued guidance and support provided. He added: “I feel grateful and honoured to be learning from other very experienced team members within the company.”

Life-Long Skills

Aside from the technical and hand-on experience Luca gains in his training, he has built on his interpersonal skills within his role.

He said: “I speak to customers regularly so I’ve become more confident dealing with them – in person, over the phone and on email.

I enjoy tracking budgets on projects and working out costs to ensure they work for the client.

Working in this sector is not an easy ride, it requires a lot of hard work, but it’s very fulfilling.”