Diary of a Trainee QS: Going on Placement

Michael MacIssac - Trainee Quantity Surveyor at Doig+SmithThis week we sat down for a chat with Trainee Quantity Surveyor, Michael, who studies Quantity Surveying on a 4 year course at Glasgow Caledonian University.

Michael is in his third year at University and is currently undertaking a 7-month placement at Doig+Smith. After completing second year at University, it is typical for students who have opted for the full-time course to go on long placements, allowing them to gain experience and get a real taste of working full-time as a Quantity Surveyor.

Tell us how you came to work for Doig+Smith?

I applied to work for Doig+Smith as a part of my placement for university. The university supported my class and I on writing cover letters and CVs as well as advice for how to tackle interviews. Once I applied, I was invited for an initial interview, and then a further interview before finally being offered a position. The interviews were informal chats about my past work experience, the duties I would have as a trainee at D+S, as well as an opportunity at the end of the interview to ask any further questions I had regarding the company and the role.

What are your goals for this year?

I want to expand on the theoretical knowledge I have gained at university in order to develop by technical knowledge here at D+S. I feel that even in the short amount of time I have been here I have considerably developed my skills thanks to the hands on experience I’m getting at D+S from a variety of tasks in a range of projects as well as from the support and advice from professionals within the company who have many years of expertise and industry experience.


What advice would you give to young people who are just beginning their traineeship?

Never be afraid to ask questions! It can be quite daunting coming from school to a professional environment in any industry. Here at D+S the senior staff are more than happy to assist new team members with any questions they may have. The company also provides informal training sessions to all undergraduate staff every month on a specific area of quantity surveying and construction technology. These training sessions really assist with our day-to-day activities within the office as the topics that are covered are relevant to our duties and responsibilities as trainees.


What’s been the highlight of your traineeship so far?

Going on site visits have been excellent opportunities to see live projects and a chance to see and learn things you’d otherwise miss out on in the office. Also, I took part in a Helping Hands day volunteering at a farm (pictured on the left) with other professionals from other companies. It was a great opportunity to meet and network with other individuals for a worthy cause.

Biggest lesson learned to-date?

It’s difficult to choose just one important lesson. In even just my first few weeks at D+S, I felt I learned far more valuable skills than I have done in other roles I have previously had. For example, development on IT skills with using various software packages to carry out daily tasks. Additionally, I have developed my communication skills by presenting with fellow trainees on a recent site visit to Robroyston Railway Station. (Pictured on the right) As I continue to work at D+S, I learn valuable lessons which will support me not just my future studies but in my quantity surveying career overall.


Watch Michael’s Video Diary of his Helping Hands Volunteering Experience

Read previous installments of Diary of a Trainee Quantity Surveyor