February 27, 2019: As National Apprenticeship Week takes place in March (4th to 8th) National Regional Property Group’s degree apprentice, Jonsun Smart, talks about his role and why he’s a fan of learning on the job.
What’s a degree apprentice?
Someone who’s a degree apprentice is studying for a degree while also working for a company. It means you get on-the-job experience as well as the benefits of academic learning.
For me, I’ll finish my apprenticeship with five years’ industry experience as well as a degree in property development and chartered surveyor status.
Why did you want to get into the industry through an apprenticeship?
I’d always planned on studying for a property development degree but when I heard that I could do it while working in the industry at the same time I thought it sounded even better. I’ve always been a tactile learner and enjoy learning by actually doing things so it was the perfect option.
How many days a week do you work in the office?
I do four days a week in the office and go to university every Friday. That said I do get to get out and about a lot with my role so I’m never stuck to my desk. I can be out every day of the week sometimes, meeting with architects and looking at new sites.
Do you find it difficult juggling studying for a degree alongside working at National Regional Property Group?
It was a bit of a shock to the system at first! But I soon got used to it and I’ve become better at organisation which makes it easier.
What do you get up to in your spare time?
I play football and box about five times a week as I enjoy keeping fit and healthy and I love competition but I also love to socialise afterwards with team mates. Another big hobby of mine is cooking, I love to cook for myself every night and I love to cook for others and I like to learn different recipes from different parts of the world.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt since starting your degree apprenticeship?
I’ve learned more than I ever thought I would in such a short time. I’d say the biggest skill I’ve learnt is organisation.
What’s your favourite part of your job?
I really enjoy looking at new sites and undertaking viability projects. That pre-investigation work is really interesting because you look at so many different factors. Sometimes on paper it might seem like a good project but after a viability study something crops up which shows it might not be so straightforward.
What are the benefits of doing an apprenticeship?
Getting experience and being around professionals, without a shadow of a doubt. You’re working alongside people with so much industry experience and you just don’t get that doing a degree alone. Plus it’s nice earning a wage and having no student debt!
Would you recommend an apprenticeship to others?
Yes. I think there should be more available.
Why did you want to work for National Regional Property Group in particular?
Being with a local Portsmouth business was really important to me but I was also really sold when I looked into the kind of developments the company works on. They are involved in many sustainable regeneration projects. I’m excited to work alongside the team and help to shape the region I live in.
Pictured – Jonsun, National Regional Property Group’s degree apprentice