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Careers Spotlight: Ellie Davis, Assistant Quantity Surveyor – #NCW2021

March 1, 2021

It’s day one of National Careers Week, and we’re kicking off our careers spotlight series with Assistant Quantity Surveyor Ellie, who works in J Tomlinson’s construction/care department.

Hear about Ellie’s career journey, including how she navigated out of A-Levels and into an apprenticeship, and how being part of a local hockey team has helped her in her role.


Describe what you do in your job. What is a typical day like?

Liaising with the site team on a daily basis, I control the finances for new build projects that J Tomlinson manages. My role includes placing orders with subcontractors, reviewing their accounts, identifying and managing pricing variations, and trying to further margin whilst also working in accordance with the programme provided by the operations team. Every month I have to provide a cost report to the senior team within my division, detailing how the project sits financially.

What other jobs or work experience have you had?

My first job was an Apprentice Buyer at a construction company up north. I enjoyed the job a lot and it was a great stepping stone to where I am now.

Aside from my apprenticeship, I have worked in a few bars (in between moving cities), which definitely helped with my customer service skills and gave me more confidence to talk to people.

What process did you follow to get to where you are in your career right now?

After passing my GCSEs I started studying for A-Levels, but decided – like many people – that they weren’t really for me.  I was still unsure as to what I wanted to do as a future career, so I asked for some work experience at my local construction company, I enjoyed buying so much that they offered me an apprenticeship.

With this apprenticeship, I went to college and obtained a NVQ Level 4 Diploma and BTEC in Construction in the Built Environment, along with 2 years’ experience in the industry. This led me to working at J Tomlinson as a Trainee Quantity Surveyor, and with my previous qualifications from college, I had enough UCAS points to be able to attend university. Since then I was promoted to Assistant Quantity Surveyor and have graduated university with a BSc(Hons) in Quantity Surveying & Commercial Management.

What training do you do at work to help you do your job role?

Other than my university course, J Tomlinson provide me with annual training to help me continue to carry out my role effectively. As well as commercial training, which keeps us up to date with new contracts, we also have more site-based training, such as CSCS/CITB and Asbestos Awareness training, including training such as COVID-19 and Metal Health awareness, which are equally important.

What skills are required to do your job?

A major aspect of my job is mathematics, so you must be good with numbers and definitely computer literate, too. Organisational skills are also really important; we have a lot of projects running at the same time so proportioning your time is important. Also communication skills – both face-to-face and on the telephone.

What role-specific qualifications do you think are needed to do your job?

To be able to carry out my job, I would say that Maths is definitely required along with Business and English. We write a lot of emails and letters, so a keen understanding of literacy would make it a lot easier. If A-levels are not your thing – like they weren’t mine – definitely enrol on a course such as “Construction in the Built Environment” or an early stage “Construction/Quantity Surveying/Contracts Managers” courses. Or if you are going to University – Quantity Surveying and Commercial Management.

What was the highest level of qualification you needed from school, college or university to do your role?

As an Apprentice Buyer, I needed 7 GCSEs grade C and above, but Maths and English I needed at least a B.

For my job as a Trainee Quantity Surveyor and to go to university, I needed a Distinction in my BTEC and NVQ which was calculated into UCAS points.

What subject options (curriculum subjects) would you recommend someone choose to do your role?

Maths (definitely), English, Business & IT. We write a lot of emails and letters, so a keen understanding of literacy would make it a lot easier.

Do you have any interests that complement your job role?

I enjoy playing hockey, I have done for 15 years – I think hockey helps in my job role as it has taught me how to work in a team and how to understand other people’s personalities. Not everyone works in the same manner as you.

How many years of experience do you need to do your job?

As an apprentice, you do not need any experience. It is great to come into an industry and learn so much whilst gaining qualifications!

For more information about the career opportunities available at J Tomlinson, please visit our Careers Page at www.jtomlinson.co.uk/careers

If the role your searching for isn’t currently on our website, feel free to send a copy of your CV and covering letter to recruitment@jtomlinson.co.uk


J Tomlinson, which was founded in Nottingham the 1950s, works primarily across the Midlands, Yorkshire and Northern and Central England.

The company provides a range of sustainable building solutions including refurbishment, repairs and maintenance, engineering services, extra care construction, renewable energy, and facilities management, working across a range of key sectors including extra care, healthcare, blue light, social housing and local government.

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