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Kaif Dad, apprentice engineering surveyor

Kaif Dad is an apprentice engineering surveyor, who has spent the first four months of his career working on a highway improvement project in Sunderland. Kaif says he never thought he’d work helping to improve England’s busy A roads and motorways, but he’s really pleased that he does.

Costain apprentice working on highway

Kaif’s working day begins around 7am. He typically starts in the office, and then spends several hours on site, at the A19 Testo’s and Downhill Lane projects in Sunderland. There, he’s monitoring the embankments that have been built to support a new bridge over the A19, to ensure the earth settles enough for the surface to be laid. Measurements have to be taken every day he says, or at least, every two. He spends most of his time at the A19 Testo’s and Downhill Lane projects, however sometimes also the A1 upgrade projects nearby – a great opportunity to work on multiple different projects in the same region.

He didn’t think he would choose a career that required him to work alongside the highway. “I thought I would have an office-based role,” Kaif says. “However, in the last year of my A Levels, I realised I actually wanted a job that was a bit more hands-on. It turned out that sitting at a desk all day was not me.”

Kaif began his apprenticeship with Costain three months ago and is working towards a Higher National Certificate in Construction and the Built Environment, as well as completing a land surveying course. “I love the balance I have in this role,” he says. “I’m out for half the day and in the office for the remaining hours. Also, no two days are the same. We have to survey different areas of a site as construction progresses.”

Kaif hoped to start his career in the construction industry with an apprenticeship and he was applying for roles as he was studying for his A Levels. “I wanted to learn on the job,” he explains. “It’s a totally different experience to being in a classroom fulltime.” And yet, when his exams were cancelled due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and he still hadn’t secured a position, he enrolled in a quantity surveying course at university. “I started university, but I didn’t like it one bit,” he says. “I was going to leave, and then fortunately, I was offered a role at Costain. As soon as I started as a land surveyor apprentice, I knew I’d done the right thing.”

Kaif works alongside two senior surveyors, and he stresses the importance of teamwork to their success. “In this field, most jobs are carried out by two people working together,” he explains. “For example, when you’re levelling, it takes two of us to get the job done.”

He hopes to follow in his colleagues’ footsteps over time. “When I finish my first qualification, I’d like to start a university course in land surveying to develop my skills and deepen my understanding. On site, my aim is to become a senior surveyor but that’s years down the track. After that, I’d like to pursue a management role.”

And can he see himself building his career at Costain? “So far, it’s been brilliant,” he says. “During the recruitment process, Costain gave me a chance when it was hard to get past the online testing at other companies. I clearly had to demonstrate to the team I could do the job but from our first meeting onwards, the people have been great. I couldn’t have asked for a better start and can see myself building a long term career at Costain.”

 

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