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Sam Davey

Student Quantity Surveryor

"The Industrial Placement is another step up in responsibility – it’s on a whole new level. The One Centenary Square project is massive."

You have a student sponsorship. How did that come about?

Early in our first year, we were encouraged to start researching employers and organising placements. The 150 year history and family story drew me to Sir Robert McAlpine – it was the first company I applied to. Fortunately, I got invited to interview. That went well and I was offered sponsorship and the chance to undertake a summer placement and industrial placement.

What was your summer experience like?

At first I was thinking “What have I got myself into?” <<laughs>>. The placement was on the Exchange Square project in Birmingham, one of the largest residential developments outside London. I was given a key role in procuring the kitchens – a budget in the millions. That’s a lot of responsibility.

How does the Industrial Placement compare?

The Industrial Placement is another step up in responsibility – it’s on a whole new level. The One Centenary Square project is massive. I’m standing here in the middle of this huge redevelopment right in the heart of the country’s second largest city. It’s just an amazing opportunity.

Why do you think placements are so valuable?

I’m on a Commercial Management and Quantity Surveying degree course. In a sense, that narrows your future career options. As an 18 or 19 year old in that position, you can’t help wondering “Have I made the right choice?” The placements have been great because they’ve given me complete confidence that I made the right decision.

What are the most important things you’ve learned here so far?

Job wise, there is so much to learn that you can’t get in a lecture room. One of the big things I’ve learned about is best value – the way that you distinguish value from price. The wider skills are important too. Stuff like time management, which will be really valuable when studying in my final year.

What are you ambitions for the future?

After this placement, I’m back to finish the final year of my course. Then I hope to go travelling for a couple of months, and fingers crossed I’ll be invited to join Sir Robert McAlpine.

How would you sum up Sir Robert McAlpine in three words?

One big family.

Finally Sam, what motivates you – what gets you out of bed in the morning?

I’m looking to get the most out of this year as possible. And I want to repay Sir Robert McAlpine for the confidence they have put in me and the opportunities I’ve been given.


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