From apprenticeship to contract management. Career path story of Joe Smith at NAS Member A. Edmonds & Co.

NAS and our members support the National Apprenticeship Week (08-14 Feb 2021) with the aim to encourage everyone to consider how apprenticeship programmes can help individuals to plan and develop their career path, and employers to build a workforce with future ready skills. Find out more about NAW below. To showcase a career path that started with an apprenticeship, we met up with with Joe Smith, Quantity Surveyor at A. Edmonds & Co. Ltd, one of the funding members of our association.

From Apprentice to Contract Management

What were you doing before starting your apprenticeship with A. Edmonds and how did you find out about the opportunity?

Joe Smith, Quantity Surveyor at A. Edmonds & Co. Ltd.:

Joe Smith
Joe Smith

In 2006 I was leaving school. My father is a joiner by trade and knew A. Edmonds as a business. I always preferred practical work, so I joined a 2-year apprenticeship scheme for a bench joiner, working for the company whilst going to college. I completed NVQ2 and in 2009 entered NAS Apprentice Competition, in which I came second.

What did you have to do at the competition?
NAS Apprentice Competition winning project
Awarded project

The apprentice competition was held in York, I had to build a cabinet. The company was very pleased and offered me a chance to do NVQ3, which took one more year and I also took part in another NAS event for apprentices. This time I won the main award.

By then people in the company knew me and it really opened the doors. I was put on a development programme to join various business functions for three months. I spent time in estimating/cost surveying function, buying department and setting out department, so I had a great chance to see how the rest of the company operates.

Have you worked for A. Edmonds & Co. since?

In 2013 I took a career break and went to Australia. There I set up a small business and employed two joiners, one of them was also an apprentice. This also gave me some management experience. I came back to UK after three years and got in touch with A. Edmonds, who offered me to join a cost surveying training programme. I have worked in this function for 4 years, providing cost variations and quantity surveying. I am also involved in design, client interventions and contracts management, where I would like to progress to. My journey from apprentice till now gave me good all-round understanding and I can recommend this path to others.

What makes a good apprentice?

You must want to listen and learn, so it is all about attitude and having a good mindset. The work, especially joinery, can be slow because it is very precise, but it is all about quality. It may not be obvious for the young people when they join the apprenticeship schemes, but the employers are investing in you by providing this opportunity, so it is good to show loyalty back.

About A. Edmonds & Co.

A. Edmonds logoA. Edmonds & Co. has a history of running apprenticeship programmes reaching back to XIX century, when Arthur Edmonds joined the company as an apprentice and 15 years later becomes General Manager of the business. A. Edmonds & Co is one of the forming members of NAS and features in association’s archives. The company has over 150 years of high quality shopfitting and interior fitting out. It specialises in high quality bespoke joinery, veneer and architectural metalwork manufacturing with apprentice trained skilled craft labour.

NAS Apprenticeship Competition

NAS archive apprentice book
Register of Apprentices (NAS archive)

NAS organises annual apprenticeship competition. The last edition was held in 2019, you can read more about it in our news story. The 2020 edition had to be cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic. NAS has been an ongoing supporter of apprenticeship programmes, with association’s paper records dating back to 1950.

National Apprenticeship Week 2021

Build the Future is the theme for NAW2021. To support National Apprenticeship Week 2021, individuals, employers, training providers and communities are being encouraged to get involved, to celebrate apprenticeships and how they: 

TRAIN apprentices, and future proof their workforce and careers though apprenticeships; 
RETAIN apprentices, gaining the skills and knowledge needed by the business, and seeing apprentices thrive, whilst having impact; 
ACHIEVE a real return on investment from apprentices; realising the business benefits of apprenticeships, with apprentices progressing in their chosen careers.