Jayden’s on the home stretch!

February 5, 2024


Jayden’s on the home stretch!

National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) runs from 5th to 11th February 2024, and with apprenticeship starts up 7% from a year ago, it’s a good time to explore the benefits of ‘learning and earning’.  

Back in February 2023, we sat down with our own Jayden Petch, who is combining work with studies in building control. For this year’s NAW, we caught up with Jayden again to see how his final year is going. 

Jayden joined Harwood in summer 2019, after his A levels, and was on course for completing his honours degree in Building Control early this year, all while enjoying paid work and practical career experience four days per week. So, how has he been getting on? 

Nice to see you again Jayden. How has it been going? 

Really well –  a bit of a juggling act, managing work four days a week plus the study, but I’m on the final push now. Exams are this month, February. The final exams are about plan checking – assessing plans in relation to a building regulation application. 

In terms of the coursework and assessments that I’ve completed going along, I’ve found it to be massively useful that the things I’m expected to know are topics I’ve actually been dealing with in real-world projects. It’s a significant commitment, doing work plus study, but I think the study must be a lot more challenging in the traditional route, where you just have to take it all in from the book. It’s not just that the study helps in my work – the work really helps the study. 

As well as the written exam, there’s an interview with industry professionals that is part of the final assessment, so you can see it’s all very connected and practical. 

What else is coming up for you? 

Under the new system that has been introduced for building control, everyone in the profession must be registered with the Building Safety Regulator by 1st April. That includes my more experienced colleagues, but by chance it’s coming in as I finish my course.  

I’m getting my exams out of the way first, but as soon as that’s done, I need to complete the application. It all fits in quite well though, because the key part of that is describing four projects I have actually worked on. For my course, I have had to keep a logbook discussing five projects, so I should be able to just select four of them for the registration. 

When we spoke before, you said there was no such thing as a typical working day. Is that still your experience? 

Yes, it is. A lot of the work is reviewing plans in relation the building control applications, using the building regulation tracker tool to make comments or note anything that might not be compliant. Other days are fully out on-site completing inspections. And there is a lot of correspondence with architects and contractors and so on, plus some work in relation to warranties. 

Initially, I was wholly assisting others, but I have progressed to being given my own projects. At this stage, more experienced colleagues then have to check everything I complete carefully, but I have first responsibility for some projects. 

Once I’m registered, I’ll be able to work on suitable projects without supervision, though even then I know I’ll be interacting and asking advice every day from the experienced inspectors here. “Without supervision” is completely different from “on your own” – it just means I’ll be consulting with colleagues rather than submitting material for their formal review. It’s a very tight-knit team here, and ultimately everything is seen as a team project. 

Would you recommend a course like this to others? 

Absolutely. At the start, 4.5 years seemed like a really long process, but its flown by. My course is fully online; which means more self-motivation, but it’s convenient to be able to do it from home. I’m able to do Harwood work from home too if I want, and I have managed to make friendships with other students – through team coursework assignments, for example.  

All in all, I’m obtaining a degree plus practical career experience – learning and earning, we call it. It’s a great way in, and the construction industry is something that will never stop. 


To learn more about apprenticeships, click here. To find out more about  a career with Harwood, check out our careers page and feel free to get in touch using our contact page