Q&A with Project Leader Steve Jell

Q&A with Project Leader Steve Jell

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As part of National Apprenticeship week 2024, we speak to Project Leader Steve Jell, who joined our apprenticeship programme in 2019.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your role at Scott Brownrigg.

I joined Scott Brownrigg 5 ½ years ago as an Architectural Technician. As soon as I could, I joined the apprenticeship program with Southbank University, alongside working in the residential team and later transferring to the commercial team. I’ve now graduated from my Level 6 and my BA, working as a Project Leader.

What drew you to the apprenticeship route?

Although I had been in the industry for a while, it felt like there was still something missing. I could design and detail, but I was missing the theoretical understanding. So by undertaking the apprenticeship route, I was able to learn the basic design theory process alongside my work.

Secondly, I didn't want to take a huge chunk of time out of my working life. This was also the more affordable choice for me, as I had already completed a degree in a different field. With the apprenticeship route, we didn't have to spend a lot of money on loans and living away from home.

How did Scott Brownrigg support you throughout the apprenticeship?

Scott Browning was one of the trailblazers, so they were involved in setting up the program, which meant they were very supportive and worked closely with me from the start.

Having Associate Architect Chris Spicer as my mentor was also really useful. I was able to debrief some of my university projects with Chris, and he would bring his insight from being in the industry for a lot longer than I had.

Other than that, Scott Brownrigg was very generous with study leave. I would work for four days and take one day to study, which was great because I could disconnect from work and focus on the theory and coursework – that’s on top of the time I was able to take off during exam time.

If you were to give advice to anyone considering the apprenticeship route, what would it be?

I would say try work out as much as possible the details with your employer, to get a clear idea as to what it is going to look like. I think our whole cohort found a lot of surprises in the time it took to complete the required record keeping.

I also would encourage students to invest as much of your energy and time as possible into the university side of things and see it less as a day out of your working week, but more of something that is going to add value.

Lastly, what do you enjoy most about your job now?

I think my favourite thing and the reason that I have kind of stuck with architecture is the variety. With every project, there’s something new to learn – both from the different kinds of projects and how you can approach them.