Featured Apprentice Story
In September 2020, Chris Scandle joined as an Apprentice Estimator, to learn the role of a highways estimator within Capita’s partnership with North Tyneside Council. During the Covid-19 pandemic, North Tyneside Council was among the local authorities approached by government to introduce coronavirus testing sites for the public. This led to North Tyneside Council requesting assistance from the Highways team to set up these testing sites in locations across the borough which Chris became involved with. Chris initially was involved in site negotiations with private landowners and proved able to build positive relationships while discussing the requirements and boundaries of potential testing sites.
At first, Chris began estimating small works around the local area, undertaking site visits and preparing prices to be issued to council colleagues and members of the public. An incredibly hard worker, Chris furthered his experience by working with Capita’s Project Engineers who maintain North Tyneside’s existing assets and infrastructure.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, North Tyneside Council was among the local authorities approached by government to introduce coronavirus testing sites for the public. This led to North Tyneside Council requesting assistance from the Highways team to set up these testing sites in locations across the borough. As Chris’s line manager, I felt this a great opportunity for Chris to learn how the council–contractor partnership functions and was an excellent opportunity for him to further develop his networks and skills.
Chris initially was involved in site negotiations with private landowners and proved able to build positive relationships while discussing the requirements and boundaries of potential testing sites. This is not a responsibility you would expect a first-year apprentice to be practising only months after having joined. Working with multiple parties, Chris played a key role in the organisation of welfare facilities, highways signage and mobilisation of the sites.
He went on to represent Capita and North Tyneside Council on weekly meetings with other North East councils and the Department for Health; this was to discuss any operational issues of the testing sites and firm up deployment plans for testing units around the North East. When our Quantity Surveying Apprentice in Highways’ Major Projects team regrettably left the business, I immediately saw a huge development opportunity for Chris.
It was agreed with Chris that he would take on some additional duties for the Major Projects team. It was recognised that this increased workload would be a challenge, not least because it was an area of work he was less familiar with, plus he was still balancing work with his university studies. However, not only did Chris prove adept at managing the new responsibilities (his job subsequently changed to Apprentice Quantity Surveyor), but he continued to fulfil the requirement of his previous role, including assisting with the council’s continued Covid-19 response.
When Covid-19 infection rates sharply increased in the borough, Chris was heavily involved in the set-up of temporary Mobile Testing Units (MTUs) surge testing sites (North Tyneside was among the first areas in the country to host these).Working extended and, often unsociable hours, Chris helped with anything and everything to enable surge testing to get quickly off the ground.
This included producing traffic management plans, providing welfare facilities, help the units get set-up and acting as the key point of contact for the Shiremoor MTU. Indeed, the Shiremoor MTU was particularly challenging – the attendance of the vaccination bus required further detailed planning and management to ensure there was the space to safely operate. When it was time for the MTUs to move on, Chris helped with the demobilisation.
In addition to Chris’s daily work as an Apprentice Quantity Surveyor, he is now helping his colleagues on some of the largest contracts Capita have secured in the Highways sector. This additional workload would be considered extremely difficult alongside his university studies with Northumbria University, which he is also excelling at:
I am excited to see Chris continue his development and am already looking to promote him to Assistant Quantity Surveyor as due reward for all his hard work and significant development in such a short space of time. In 2021, Chris also won an employee award for his hard work during the pandemic which is nominated by his colleagues.
A message that was received from Colin MacDonald, Senior Manager at North Tyneside Council, sums up just how well Chris has done, in extremely difficult circumstances, since joining. “Overall, Chris has shown a partnership ethos in working with the client and, as a young apprentice, he has demonstrated that he has great potential.”