Swapping Marks & Spencer for the beautiful Kew Gardens, and working in the shadow of England’s ‘home of rugby’...

Bally Gill 12 May 2020

Bally Gill, Trainee Quantity Surveyor, London, UK

Swapping Marks & Spencer for the beautiful Kew Gardens, and working in the shadow of England’s ‘home of rugby’...

After bouncing from the supermarket aisles to retail, and then a car parts supplier, an apprenticeship led Bally to life at Temperate House – Kew Gardens’ magnificent glasshouse in London, UK – and the world of quantity surveying with ISG.

Bally had never considered construction as an industry to build a career in, but through his ISG traineeship he realised that quantity surveying fitted his mathematical skill set like a glove. Now, as he works towards his degree, the opportunity to learn – and earn – with ISG means he finds himself one step ahead of the game.

“By the time I got to the university work that was relevant to my day-job, I was so experienced in it that I found myself smashing it,” he says. “It’s made it much easier because I’m around experienced people who share knowledge with me every day.”

Not only that, the botanical haven of Kew, and Richmond upon Thames College, a new futuristic learning hub where he is now based, overlooked by England’s ‘home of rugby’, Twickenham, have also taken Bally out of the traditional office environment. He didn’t know it at first, but construction – and ISG – tick all the boxes. 

Bally Gill

Bally wasn’t keen on the prospect of university after graduating from college. After working in the world of retail for a short time, he found himself inspired to find his ideal career path.

“After I finished school, I had all sorts of jobs – retail, Marks & Spencer, charity work and even a car parts company,” he shares. “I realised after a short time that I needed to pursue a career and start a new challenge.”

“I enjoy every day because I know that I’m working towards something. I’m looking at completing my degree, and then it’s onwards and upwards in the surveyor game for me.”

- Bally Gill, Trainee Quantity Surveyor 

With a renewed spring in his step, Bally began hunting out apprenticeships online, landing on a K-10 Business Administration Apprenticeship. Following a successful application, he started studying and learning his trade as a trainee quantity surveyor at the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew in London, UK, where ISG was restoring the world’s largest Victorian glasshouse – the historic Temperate House.

Bally is refreshingly candid about how he found himself in construction, acknowledging that his career path materialised as much by luck as design. “When I was applying for apprenticeships, I didn’t know much about quantity surveying, and hadn’t thought about construction as an industry to start working in,” he says. “Once I found out more about quantity surveying, I realised that it matches my skill set perfectly – I’ve always been good with numbers and figures.”

The Temperate House project was a steep learning curve for Bally. “It was such a complex project and a lot of challenges came up, but it was a great starting point to learn from,” he says.

“Temperate House was unique – I was chucked in at the deep end, so I learned quickly on the job. It was challenging, but an amazing learning experience.

“Challenges aside, you can’t beat having Kew Gardens as an office every day. We had a great team there too.”

Bally Gill

The K-10 apprenticeship led to Bally joining ISG full-time, learning his trade while studying towards his degree – and he finds himself one step ahead of the game because of it.

“By the time I got to the university work that was relevant to my day-job, I was so experienced in it that I found myself smashing it,” he says. “It’s made it much easier because I’m around experienced people who share knowledge with me every day.”

He’s now working in another enviable setting – Richmond upon Thames College situated in the shadow of England’s ‘home of rugby’, Twickenham.

Bally Gill

Bally’s more of a football man than rugby, but since being based at the college, his skills and understanding of the construction environment have gone from strength to strength. “I’ve been given a lot of responsibility and I’m trusted to work independently, so I’ve really grown in confidence since being here,” he explains. “It helps having exposure to experienced people in the business who set a great example.”

“For someone who knew nothing about construction, I’ve learned so much since starting work,” he continues. “I now know how a project runs from pre-construction to final handover, and I can definitely see myself managing the full process in the future. I’m enjoying it because you can progress so quickly with on-the-job experience, and you’re rewarded for performing well.”

Bally says that the people around him have been central to his development. “The people who have shown me the ropes have been fantastic,” he says. “I’m one to ask questions and they always have the time to answer and share their experiences. I’ve never felt condescended to or that I couldn’t do what I need to do to learn.”

“I hadn’t thought about construction as an industry to start working in. Once I found out more about quantity surveying, I realised that it matches my skill set perfectly.”

- Bally Gill, Trainee Quantity Surveyor 

Bally’s learning experience has led to him becoming engrossed in the #TeamISG culture and the values of the business, bringing ISG’s ‘Always care’ value to life through supporting new apprentices as they begin their own journeys, and organising a football tournament in London which raised over £400 for charity, bringing subcontractors and ISG people together in the process.

What does the future hold?

“I enjoy every day because I know that I’m working towards something,” Bally concludes. “I’m looking at completing my degree, and then it’s onwards and upwards in the surveyor game for me.”

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