Our #TakeoverTuesday on Instagram offers you a great insight into what it’s like to work in construction, by showcasing days in the life of inspiring people who have roles in the industry.
It was great to meet our #TakeoverTuesday participants, Kimberly and Shaynesia. We asked them a couple of questions about their journeys into construction.
Kimberly Hepburn, Junior Quantity Surveyor at TfL
When I was deciding between university and an apprenticeship, my dad went to Skills London where he found out about the TfL apprenticeship scheme. I realised that this matched my strengths in maths and that’s how I decided to get into construction.
Definitely consider your options – there’s so much opportunity and there’s definitely something in construction for everyone.
If you want a career with a professional body that’s regulated over the whole globe, and want a job where you can work both onsite and in the office - plus support the project manager - then surveying could be for you!
However, there’re so many options, so consider them all.
Shaynesia Byfield, Assistant Quantity Surveyor, TfL
My route into construction was quite accidental. I studied science at A-levels and went on to do a university degree in biology. My initial plan was to go into medicine, but then I realised in my last year that wasn't really for me. I was lucky that I managed to secure a job after university, but it wasn’t anything science-based. It was for a maintenance construction small family run business.
I then did lots of work experience with building surveyors and one of them turned around to me and said: “You’ve got maths, you’ve got science – think about surveying, not just building, but quantity surveying.”
So I saw the TfL graduate scheme, but as I didn’t come from a construction background, I thought I wouldn’t get in. However, they have one role specifically for those without experience, so I applied and got sponsored for my masters degree so I didn’t have to pay for any qualifications, and I secured the role! I've just completed my part-time masters and will be finishing the TfL graduate scheme this year.
Please don’t be intimidated and think it’s a boy’s subject, or that construction is for men and worry about how you’ll be perceived. If we don’t start now, we’re never going to see change.
Definitely don’t write it off – especially for girls out there - please do not write it off, there’s something for you. Please don’t be intimidated and think it’s a boy’s subject, or that construction is for men and worry about how you’ll be perceived. If we don’t start now, we’re never going to see change. And that’s always my mantra that I say.
We’re getting more women into the industry, but we need to get even MORE women into the industry, so definitely for girls - please be open. Also, look at what you’re good at and look at what you like. You may be good at maths, you may be good at science, and therefore you may just confine yourself to careers allied to medicine, law and finance. However, there are rewarding professions within construction that require those same skills.
Construction has something for everybody; all projects come with their own challenges and surprises. You will never be bored.