I buy, and also manage the team that buys, the various sub-contracted elements of different construction projects.
Previous packages I have procured include lifts, pre-cast concrete platforms, glazed balustrades and steelwork, right through to unexploded bomb surveys and a canteen for a site.
As I’m sure lots of people working in construction jobs will tell you, the satisfaction of helping to build something that the public know about and you can walk past in the future is a great feeling.
Which company do you work for and what do they do?
Laing O’Rourke, a global engineering and construction company.
With an ageing workforce and a huge amount of government-sponsored work coming up over the next ten to twenty years, now is a great time to get into construction jobs.
What education route did you take from secondary school to where you are today?
A degree in African Studies and Anthropology followed by a stint working as a building labourer for a small firm in Norwich. I then went back to university in Greenwich to study for an MSc in Construction Management and Economics, before getting a graduate construction job with Laing O’Rourke.
What is your favourite thing about your job?
My job is really varied. From buying so many different elements you really get to appreciate and learn about a wide range of trades and products. As I’m sure lots of people working in construction jobs will tell you, the satisfaction of helping to build something that the public know about and you can walk past in the future is a great feeling.
What is the highlight of your day?
Procurement is quite a long process, with many stages. Each contract probably takes a couple of months to place but the most enjoyable part is the negotiation. When else do you get millions of pounds to spend? With some good negotiation, you can make hundreds of thousands of pounds in buying gains which makes a huge difference for the company.
Where do you want your career to take you?
I am lucky enough to have worked on some of the largest rail construction jobs in London. I would like to continue being involved in shaping London and the UK's landscape with HS2, and perhaps in the future go abroad and build some mega projects around the world.
What would you say to someone thinking about a career in construction?
Get some work experience organised. All large projects have quotas to fill for work experience and construction apprenticeships. With an ageing workforce and a huge amount of government-sponsored work coming up over the next ten to twenty years, now is a great time to get into construction. Also, there is so much variety in the types of construction jobs all projects need that there really is a role to suit all skills and interests.
Is there anything else you would like to share which would inspire others to follow their chosen career path?
I didn't really know anything about construction until I was in my early 20s and I came into the industry. It really is a great place to work and it is difficult to overstate how rewarding it is to construct buildings and infrastructure that become part of our landscape.