A trainee surveyor is one of only four degree apprentices in the UK selected for a feature in the Guardian newspaper’s apprenticeship supplement. Megan Lightfoot, a former student at Richmond School and Sixth Form College, is working towards a career as a quantity surveyor after securing a degree apprenticeship with Tom Willoughby Ltd, on their Catterick-based Regional Prime Contract.

Coinciding with and in celebration of national apprenticeship week, The Guardian produced a dedicated apprenticeship-focused supplement including a piece that specifically focuses on students who were originally intending to take up confirmed places at university but then changed their plans to pursue  degree apprenticeship, due to the events of 2020.

Megan is currently working as a Commercial Assistant and will progress to Trainee Quantity Surveyor after her first year at Tom Willoughby. She works in part of a team that deals with commercial processes related to jobs for the Military of Defence and, when required, she goes out to site to assist in the development and implementation of commercial risk management procedures and to prepare work proposals and tenders.

Megan, who will study for her degree at Northumbria University, was honoured to be invited to be featured in the Guardian’s supplement and said: “It is fantastic that the national media is raising awareness of the enormous benefits that apprenticeships offer young people. With a degree apprenticeship, I know the demands of combining working with studying will be challenging, however I feel this is the most productive way for me to further myself academically whilst training on the job.

“Although the process will take five years, I feel the level of guidance and experience coupled with the theory of surveying delivers the best of both worlds – being able to gain valuable work experience, working for one of the best family-run construction companies in the North East, whilst also attaining a degree in Quantity Surveying. My first few months have been very enjoyable and insightful and I am excited for what the next few years will bring.”

Joanne Sinnott, Operations Manager at Tom Willoughby, added: “I am immensely proud that the Guardian chose to feature a case study about Megan and she really deserves this recognition. Megan is a very capable young woman and in taking the decision to spend a year gaining an insight into the industry prior to commencing her studies, I believe she will be in a far better position than many of her peers. She will be in the valuable position of seeing what she is learning at University actually taking effect in the real world and I look forward to watching Megan grow within her chosen profession in the Construction Industry over the coming years.

Liz Mannion, Careers Leader at Richmond School and Sixth Form College, concluded: “This degree apprenticeship is ideal for Megan. She is incredibly diligent and has a strong work ethic and I have no doubt she will cope with the demands of balancing a challenging job with her degree studies. I am really encouraged that the apprenticeship route is becoming increasingly attractive and already we have many students whose preference is to secure an apprenticeship. ”

Richmond School offers a host of careers support and was one of the first schools nationally to achieve the national Quality in Careers standard. If any employers in the area are looking to recruit apprentices this year, or may consider this in the future, please email Ruth Hamer, Careers Advisor on rhamer@richmondschool.net