I work very closely with the architect and subcontractors to ensure the drawings are followed relentlessly – there are often a few discrepancies that require thoughtful problem solving!
I managed subcontractors from various trades on-site, monitoring their quality, work outputs and health and safety.
Health and safety is a huge part of my job, and the industry and I often make sure all the checks and paperwork are in place before work begins. I also work on client reports and pass on information from the site to my project manager to be delivered to the client.
It's rewarding to see progress at the end of the day, looking at how far trades have worked and getting a little closer to having the final product ready for the client.
|Employer||Willmott Dixon Housing|
Which company do you work for and what do they do?
I work for Willmott Dixon Housing, working across London and the Southern regions in the residential sector. We have an extensive portfolio of high quality apartment blocks, care homes and retirement villages, as well as student accommodation. We are one of the UK’s largest privately owned contractors, with a group turnover of £1.2 billion.
Construction is a great industry where things are constantly changing; people will always need somewhere to live, a place to work, leisure centres and shops to visit.
What education route did you take from secondary school to where you are today?
I left school at 18 after completing my GCSEs and A-levels, and took a year out of education to travel, not knowing what I wanted to do with my career. While on the year out, I thought about what I really enjoyed and had experienced already in my life.
I love buildings and being practical, having often worked renovating family and friends' homes and as a labourer at weekends. It all came together, and I realised that I wanted to focus my career on construction, particularly project management.
The following September, I started university in Bristol and went on to complete my first and second years. During my second year, I arranged to take a year out of my degree to do a work placement to get further hands-on experience working on a building site.
During this year, I worked on the redevelopment of a Grade II-listed hospital in Cardiff city centre, turning the disused building into a modern public healthcare facility. I learnt a great deal of first-hand information and how to apply what I had learned in the classroom to real life situations. It also helped me to have a wider knowledge base in the classroom during my final year of university study.
When I graduated, I was fortunate to get accepted onto a prestigious management trainee programme at Willmott Dixon. The scheme is great, and allows you to work within each discipline of construction to get a more well-rounded understanding of the industry.
What is your favourite thing about your job?
I love change. I really enjoy creating spaces for end users to live in and occupy, turning wasteland or unused spaces and buildings into new spaces. It is thoroughly enjoyable to work towards an end goal with so many people, both colleagues and subcontractors.
What is the highlight of your day?
It is rewarding to see progress at the end of the day, looking at how far trades have worked and getting a little closer to having the final product ready for the client.
Where do you want your career to take you?
I am currently working towards membership of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), which requires me to submit a portfolio of evidenced work modules – I hope to have this done before I finish my training programme in 2016. Through hard work, I hope to see myself in a more senior position in a few years’ time. This can only be achieved through gaining more knowledge on a variety of sites and projects, and I plan to run my own project in a few years. It will be hard work, but all worth it.
What would you say to someone thinking about a career in construction?
Construction is an exciting industry to be in. The market has really picked up after the recession and work is going on everywhere. There are more roles available than you think, with positions in design, planning, marketing and sales, surveying, estimating, human resourcing, buying, customer services ... it really is more than just bricks and mortar. You will also have the opportunity to work with many knowledgeable people within the industry who you can learn a lot from.
Is there anything else you would like to share which would inspire others to follow their chosen career path?
It is never too late to choose your career path. I didn’t really understand my direction until I was nearly 19. I can only recommend doing subjects at school that you enjoy, rather than what others think you should do. Construction is a great industry where things are constantly changing; people will always need somewhere to live, a place to work, leisure centres and shops to visit. We are always looking at new ideas, new ways to build and use innovation within our roles. It’s the perfect career for me and I’m sure it will be for you too.