I didn’t do that well in my GCSEs, but I did excel in subject areas like mathematics, so I started my working life in administration and research roles that used my mathematic skills.
I’ve always been quite an ambitious person, so I didn’t really want my career to stall, and when I was 21 I saw an advert for a role as an Assistant Quantity Surveyor. Luckily I got the role, and also started a part-time Honours Degree in Quantity Surveying. This way of earning and learning worked out great for me, and after I graduated I completed my professional membership to the Chartered Institute of Builders and the Association of Project Managers. I really enjoy learning new things all the time, which is why I also have now completed my Postgraduate Certificate in Leadership in Construction.
My advice to any school leaver or someone wishing to enter a career in any industry is to keep your options open and whatever you choose to do, make sure it’s something you can enjoy.
Describe in a few sentences what your job entails?
I worked as a quantity surveyor for a few years, and got to manage the costs and incomes for projects that ranged from a few million to £13 million over just one year! I think at this point, I was getting a lot more passionate about what I was doing, especially being a ‘late starter’ in the industry. I wanted to be able to inspire younger people into getting into this industry, and also work with the local communities that surround some of the construction jobs we’re working on.
So I changed career path and became involved in community engagement. This role uses my skills, knowledge and experience to bring new opportunities to BAM’s project communities. I aim to get young people interested in construction jobs, as well as using local resources where possible and site resources that can benefit the surrounding community. I want to inspire others to take on the challenge and get involved in this industry – helping to ensure that there is a future intake of employees.
As a surveyor, I am very commercially (financially) minded, and I love the buzz of being part of a team that wins new work.
What do you love about your job?
I’ve always been quite commercially minded, which is key in the roles I’ve worked in, and being part of a team that wins the bid for new work is a real buzz! And if part of the reason we’ve won has been because the client interviewed me and my answers influenced their decision, then that makes the win even better.
On the other hand though, the toughest part of the job is actually handing over the project – sometimes I just can’t let go! The building you’ve been working on has been a part of your life for about a year or so, and you’ve seen it grow, develop and know it so well so it can be tough to pass it on. But it’s a great reminder of the team’s achievements and how far you’ve come.
What’s the highlight of your day?
Being able to be creative is a great part of my job. Seeing something being created from an idea I’ve had is really exciting and it spurs me on to think of new ideas and innovations that I can then bring to future projects. In the past, I’ve been asked by schools and colleges to come up with new and unusual ways to introduce the idea of construction into the classroom. Having live projects that I’ve worked on as a resource to show young people is a great tool that really gets them interested in working in construction, and the different stages of a project.
I’m also really passionate about getting people engaged with the construction industry, especially those who may have been unemployed for some time. If I can help them take that next step on the road to getting construction jobs, then I feel like I’m actually making a real difference in my work.
Where do you see your career progressing?
At BAM, there’s a real importance on Corporate Social Responsibility, and I would love for my career to expand into a more strategic position where I can be involved with developing further opportunities for our work to make major positive impacts to our communities.
What would you say to someone who was thinking about a career in construction?
Just go for it! My construction career has definitely shown that this exciting industry has a lot of job opportunities where you can use your transferable skills. There’s nothing to lose, so you might as well see where it could take you. It’s really important to be passionate about what you’re doing, and if you want to see results, you need to put the work in first.
For someone reading your story, from education to your job role now, is there anything else you’d like to share with others that will inspire others to follow their chosen career path?
In all honesty, working in construction wasn’t where I thought I was going to end up when I was younger. As a child, I had wanted to be a police officer, but I didn’t get past the application stage, so had to rethink my options. I applied for a job in a bank as I had good mathematical skills, but I wasn’t really passionate about it and was at a loss over what I wanted to do.
But eventually I did find the right career for me, and now have an incredible career in front of me. My advice to anyone who is soon to be leaving school or changing careers possibly is to keep your options open and that whatever you choose to do, make sure it’s something you enjoy and want to pursue.