THREE new quantity surveyors are showing how apprenticeships can be the route to trying new career paths.

City Building has just taken on Glasgow Caledonian University graduates who started out as apprentice joiners and an apprentice plumber.

Karen Morton, Mark McColgan and Christopher McCunnie each completed the four year course sponsored by the firm, which allowed them to study while continuing to work.

Mark, 28, joined City Building on his 16th birthday, as a school leaver.

He spent four years as an apprentice plumber, before working as a trainee estimator and after achieving a HNC in Building Surveying through the firm, Mark worked with a number of quantity surveyors which inspired him to apply to the course.

Mark said: “People think going into a trade is a dead end, but there’s so many routes to other things.

"I left school never fancying higher education, but my time spent working with other quantity surveyors gave me the confidence and ambition to try it for myself.

"The course was really enjoyable too, and City Building gave us day relief so there were no night classes.

"It was a bit strange last year, adapting to online learning and online lectures, but there was so much support.

“The last few months have definitely been hectic, what with the course ending and finally being able to get married in May after my wedding was postponed twice.

"I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into this new role, and to build my confidence too.

“There are lots of things that I enjoy about working with City Building, but as I’m Glasgow born and raised, I love working in areas I know.

"I even worked in my old primary school as an apprentice."

Karen, 38, began her career with City Building in 1999 as an apprentice joiner after learning about the company from her school’s career office.

Following a HNC, Karen worked in Education Maintenance, before taking on an acting Quantity Surveying position.

After four years of training, Karen graduated with a 2:1 degree in June.

Karen said: "I had never previously considered becoming a quantity surveyor, until City Building advertised the traineeships.

"The chance to earn a degree, while having the security of a job, was too good of an opportunity to miss.

"The course was four years long, and I did find It to be quite challenging due to the balance of working full time, studying part time and looking after my family too.

"The move to working online also took a while to get used to, but I was pleased to be studying alongside Mark and Chris - we all supported each other."

Christopher, 31, joined City Building as an adult apprentice joiner, after completing a HNC in Construction Management.

Glasgow Times: Chris McCunnie

The first in his family to receive a degree, Christopher enjoyed the academic side of construction to such an extent that he hopes to study more in the future.

Christopher, from Parkhead, now has a young family including wife Laura and three-year-old son Oliver, and another baby on the way.

He said: "I'm really proud of what Mark, Karen and I have achieved with this qualification.

"I had never considered quantity surveying before, but after my HNC, I realised how much I enjoyed the academic side of it and wanted the opportunity to better myself.

"City Building constantly email employees about opportunities to progress their workforce, and it seemed daft not to grab it with both hands.

"With a young family, the opportunity to study during working hours was perfect for me.

"While I'm used to doing overtime, being able to juggle both work, study and family life made everything a lot easier. It was very accessible, which was a big attraction for me.

"In the end, I wrote my dissertation on equality and diversity within construction.

"While it remains a very male-dominated industry, there have always been opportunities for men and women alike in the company - they really are steps ahead in the sector."

City Building Executive Director Alan Burns said: “It is a proud moment for Karen, Mark and Christopher, and for City Building as a whole.

"We welcome on average about 60 apprentices annually, and strive to offer many opportunities for progression, so our employees have no doubt of our faith in them and their abilities."