A young video-gamer‘s Dreamcast and PlayStation years have served him well - they’re now helping him train to be a drone pilot.
Joshua Fisher-Lambert, 19, is an Apprentice Trainee Surveyor with Quantum Survey Management on Brightside Lane and is thought to be one of the first to soon be operating the industry’s latest tool - remotely-piloted aircraft systems fitted with specialist cameras that cost thousands and can measure huge areas in minutes.
Joshua said: “This has to be my dream job. As a child I loved my remote control toy helicopters – now I’m learning to fly real drones for a living. They are far bigger and more expensive but are actually a lot easier to control. And I’ve been told that a major plus is my strong to hand-to-eye coordination skills, which were honed from many years of video-gaming!”
Joshua had planned to study engineering at university after gaining a manufacturing engineering diploma at Kirklees College but decided he wanted to get hands-on experience as he learned. He started hunting for an interesting apprenticeship just as Quantum SM’s team had decided to provide an in-house drone-surveying service.
Its consultant Chartered Surveyors work countrywide and specialise in assisting business owners, home owners, loss adjusters and assessors acting in major and often complex building insurance claims.
“Last year we had to turn down a contract to assess storm damage on 10,000 properties because we were at full-stretch. A drone could have performed the task in a fraction of the time and cost, with instant results,” said John Cusack, Technical Operations Director, who set up the company four years ago.
“Drones are a fantastic tool for surveyors. The software and technology behind them is phenomenal. A drone can capture precise topography and measure huge buildings and acres of land in minutes.
“They are particularly useful for scanning places that are difficult or dangerous to access. Some sites we encounter have been badly fire damaged and are unsafe to enter. A large roof survey could normally mean hiring a hydraulic cherry picker and scaffolding.”
Quantum SM invested a significant sum in commercial drones and specialist computer software, and then turned to Skills Made Easy to find Apprentice Surveyors to put through pilot training alongside existing members of its team.
Said John: “We met 10 candidates and Joshua was the right one. He has engineering training and being of the PlayStation Generation, he is very comfortable with technology.”
Joshua joined Quantum SM in the autumn, is now studying for his surveying qualification Level 3 and before Christmas starts a four-day course to gain his Light UAS Basic National Certificate (BNUC-S) with a drone academy in Leeds.
The Source Skills Academy’s George Hill-Fullerton, Account Manager with Skills Made Easy, commented: “This was a first for us. I met with John at Quantum SM to talk about Business Administration Apprenticeships and he was eager to tell me about a new idea for his business, drone surveying. He said he would need new recruits to pilot the drones and after looking at the role it was clear it could be part of a Surveying Level 3 apprenticeship qualification. It was fantastic that Skills made easy were able to contribute towards the drone pilot training through the Skills Made Easy Incentive Fund.
“This promises to be a growing sector for apprenticeships and we are keen to hear from other surveying and construction companies. They can contact George Hill-Fullerton on 0114 2635600.”
Commented John Cusack: “We are very grateful to Skills Made Easy for helping us get £1,000 of funding for Joshua’s pilot training. This is an exciting area for us; we aim to offer the service to insurance companies on major loss building claims, large construction companies, asset management companies, the renewable energy sector and stately homes. Josh will be at the controls and as the service grows we hope to take on more surveying apprentices who will train as drone pilots.”