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The University of Ulster is continuing to build on its strong links with the Property Team at Tesco, one of the UK’s largest private sector construction clients.

During a recent visit to the Jordanstown campus, one of the company’s senior cost executives, Jon Harris, acknowledged the high calibre and quality of Quantity Surveying (QS) students.

Mr Harris, Head of Value Management, along with colleague Adam Neill, Value Engineer and former Ulster QS graduate, were among a panel of judges assessing final year students.

“We have enjoyed spending time with the students, who have shown how they can adapt their skills to a real life situation and we haven’t been disappointed with what we have seen,” he said.

Three years ago the BSc Hons Quantity Surveying and Commercial Management programme formed a working partnership with Tesco Property.

Two graduates won placements with the company, after successfully completing an initial, on-line assessment and final assessment process at the company’s head office and this resulted in the pair gaining full-time employment.

“That created our first contact with the University of Ulster and since then we have placed another final year graduate and two gap year students,” explained Mr Harris.

“We are very pleased with the calibre and quality of students and will soon be thinking of our Ulster placements for next year.”

Tesco Property has worked with the University to create a module using a real life example of a store which the company has developed.

Students were tasked to advise on procurement and tendering arrangements. They then had to estimate the cost and produce priced bills of quantities to present to the company.

“What we are able to do as an employer, is to share some of the day-to-day activities we are involved with and bring that reality into the University,” added Mr Harris.

“As a result, we are hoping that those who finally graduate will be better prepared for their working lives and will have a greater understanding of the industry.

“Tesco Property are also offering a prize to the top four, first-year Quantity Surveying and Commercial Management students, who will be brought to the Tesco headquarters in London during the summer for a period of work experience.

“This is a phenomenal opportunity for them to gain an insight into the workings of a major, multi-national company and also to showcase their skills and become ambassadors for the University of Ulster.”

Robert Weatherup, course director for Quantity Surveying and Commercial Management at Ulster, described the relationship with Tesco Property Services as “a major achievement for the University”.

“Partnerships like this exhibit to a worldwide construction industry the talent that is present within the Quantity Surveying and Commercial Course at Ulster,” he said.

“The design and content of the degree course is directly aligned to the University’s Corporate Plan objective of delivering ‘Professional Education for Professional Life’.

“This is what this course is all about and due to the creation of highly competent graduates, the employability level of Ulster’s Quantity Surveying graduates throughout the world has never been higher.”