I always knew that I wanted to go to university to study, so after I completed my GCSEs, I went on to study my A-levels at my local college. I wasn’t that certain about what I wanted to do, so I chose subjects that I knew I enjoyed and wanted to learn more about; History, Politics, Law and Biology. Once I had completed those, I went to the University of Hull to study Law.
When people find out that I studied Law, they do question why I now work in a construction job, but I believe that it does not necessarily matter what subjects you have studied before - it’s more about the skills that you can bring into the industry and the construction company you are working for. I’ve found this approach very useful when applying what I’ve learned from my degree, particularly on an entrance scheme like the one I’m on.
There is no specific path required to get into the construction industry and to start to build a career.
|Barratt Developments PLC
What company do you work for and what do they do?
I work in a construction role at Barratt Developments PLC – which is the overarching company name representing the largest house-building business within the UK. Some of the other brands that come under this umbrella are Barratt Homes, David Wilson Homes, Barratt London, Ward Homes and Wilson Bowden.
No matter what your background, there is likely to be a role within construction that suits what you are looking for.
Tell us a bit more about the role you do.
Currently, I’m completing my first year of the Barratt Developments Graduate Programme. In the first year, you’re required to complete a series of 6-8 week rotations in each of the departments within one of the UK-wide Divisional Offices. The rotations include Land and Planning, Technical, Commercial, Construction, Sales and Finance. Once I’ve completed my first year on the scheme, I will then specialise within the Land and Planning department, which is what I want to do as my chosen discipline. This will help to develop my experience, and hopefully lead to a role within the department once I’ve completed my two-year Graduate Scheme.
What do you love about your job?
It’s amazing to see a piece of work progress over a period of time. There are not many industries where you see the start of a project - ie an open space of land, empty brownfield site - and see it progress through design and engineering to the actual construction phase. That’s when you get to see the real and visible end result. I think that the house-building industry is an exciting area of construction because you’re part of an industry that is fulfilling a necessity for society and helping to develop lasting communities.
There’s so much variety that comes with working in construction. Of course, you have a defined role that comes with defined responsibilities. However, on a day-to-day basis you can never be certain of what is going to happen. But that’s exactly what makes construction jobs both exciting and unpredictable.
Where do you see your career progressing?
At the moment, I’m just focusing on completing the Graduate Scheme and learning as much as possible about working in construction, as well as Barratt Developments PLC as a company. I also want to develop my knowledge of my chosen discipline more. I aim to continue to develop my skills to progress along the career ladder, and I hope to obtain a management position later on.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about a career in construction?
Don’t believe what has been traditionally thought about construction jobs and working in the construction industry. There have always been misconceptions about the industry, with people only seeing the jobs on site, such as bricklaying and joinery, and thinking that is the industry in its entirety. But there are many more roles in the construction industry that people may not be aware of, because they are behind-the-scenes, roles such as Engineering, Architecture, Sales, Quantity Surveying, Project Management, IT, Legal, Finance, HR and Marketing to name just a few! But there are even more than that. No matter what your background, there is likely to be a role within construction that suits what you are looking for.
The important thing to remember is that there is no specific path required to get into construction, and to start to build a career. There are multiple different routes available to suit different individuals’ requirements or preferences. You can choose to follow a more traditional route, completing A-levels and then going onto university to study for a degree, or alternatively you could enter a company on a construction apprenticeship, or on a trainee scheme.
The main thing is to choose the path which is going to be best for you and the route that is going to allow you to reach your full potential.