Mentoring is a profoundly fulfilling endeavour, sharing knowledge and expertise to shape the next generation into skilled individuals in their respective fields.

SpecFinish spoke to Quintes Neethling MCIOB, Director of Quint Interiors, about his experience.

As a seasoned quantity surveyor, I find it satisfying and rewarding mentoring an apprentice quantity surveyor, a journey filled with challenges, growth, and the joy of witnessing transformation.

The beginning of the journey

My journey as a Mentor began with the introduction of Haroon, a young and enthusiastic apprentice quantity surveyor who was willing to learn the profession as well as the trade. With the combination of excitement and accountability, I took on the responsibility of guiding him through the complex world of construction and quantity surveying.

From the beginning, I recognised the mentoring relationship is a two-way street. Although my role is to convey my knowledge and experience, I immediately recognised that Haroon’s fresh viewpoint and interest were equally valuable. His queries often made me rethink my own deep-rooted assumptions and pushed me to stay updated with the latest trends and developments in the industry.

Crossing challenges together

The journey did have its challenges. Haroon faced the overwhelming task of transitioning from minimum academic knowledge into practical application. This meant my role expanded beyond providing technical insights; I had to help him connect the lines between classroom learning and real-world situations.

One major challenge was educating Haroon to deal with changes and setbacks in construction projects. In a situation where a design modification led to a series of budget and timeline adjustments, guiding him through the process of recalculating costs, renegotiating contracts, and maintaining effective communication with clients was a valuable learning experience for both of us.

Growth through learning

I have worked in the construction industry for 20 years, starting off as a drywall and suspended ceiling fitter.  I did this for 10 years prior to seeking further higher education which gave me a different   insight into the construction industry. The most fulfilling aspect of mentoring was witnessing Haroon’s growth and development. Specifically, when we were on site, I was able to teach him the varied materials and types of plaster boards. This helped him to visualise the material build ups of partition wall types and ceilings. He also gained knowledge of the labour aspect and how the installation process works. Over time, I observed him becoming more confident in his decisions, more adept at handling challenges, and more proficient in communicating with clients and contractors.

Projects where Haroon learnt the most was Maxi Haulage and Hockerhill Farm. From initial cost estimation to final budget reconciliation, the onsite site learning really developed his skills. Working on site Haroon also learnt a considerable amount by speaking to workers on site and listing to their perspective. Seeing him manage the entire process with competence was a proud moment and reminded me of the importance of nurturing the next generation of talent.

Lessons learned

Mentoring Haroon has taught me some important lessons that have enriched both my professional and personal life:

  1. Endless Learning: The mentor and apprentice relationship is a continuing learning experience. It is key to have an open perspective and remain flexible to changing circumstances.
  2. Patience: Everyone learns at their own pace. Being patient is key when guiding someone.
  3. Two-Way Exchange: even though I was mentor, Haroon’s questions and insights drove me to reevaluate my own practices and knowledge.
  4. Effectiveness of Mentorship: Observing Haroon’s development and achievement confirmed the substantial impact mentorship can have on an individual’s professional journey.
  5. Future Building: By sharing knowledge, I am adding to the legacy of the profession, ensuring that the next generation of quantity surveyors will be well-prepared and capable.


Mentoring an apprentice quantity surveyor has been an extremely rewarding experience. It is a path of joint learning, progression, and the transferring of valuable skills. As mentors, we can build and shape the future of our profession by developing talent, improving confidence, and building a robust foundation for the apprentices who will one day become the leading innovators in the industry. Mentorships does not only contribute to the individual’s success but also the advancement of the industry.

Haroon is starting his degree apprenticeship at Birmingham City University this September and has been with the company since February 2021 working part time whilst attending collage to complete his English, Maths and HNC in Construction.

I recognised his willingness to learn and his drive to better educate himself and therefore he has my full support on his journey to chartership.