My key duty is to ensure that what we do doesn't put anyone at risk while undertaking our construction work.

I do this by ensuring all work is carried out in accordance with statutory legal requirements, as well as our company standards and procedures.

There is nothing better than seeing a project go from being a series of lines on a drawing or computer screen, to seeing it grow out of the ground and through to final completion.

Based Cardiff
Employer Laing O’Rourke

Which company do you work for and what do they do?

I work for Laing O’Rourke PLC, the largest privately-owned construction firm in the UK.

We build excellent structures which exceed the expectations of our clients, enhance the communities they touch, and are built with minimal impact on the environment. We take pride in the quality of the construction projects we deliver, the originality of our approach and our total commitment to health and safety. Through innovative thinking and craftsmanship, we develop new ways of constructing to reduce waste, optimise savings and improve safety.

Laing O’Rourke Wales and West is based in our Cardiff office. With a turnover in excess of £150m and an average of six to eight projects on-site at any one time, we are a market leader in the region regarding the delivery of complex large-scale construction projects.

We are proud of our history in the region, having completed landmark construction schemes such as the Cardiff Millennium Stadium, the Second Severn Crossing, Cardiff City Stadium, the Ministry of Defence Corsham development and the award-winning Cardiff Central Library.

There is a massive misconception of what working in construction really involves. There is a vast range of construction jobs, from hands-on work on a site to more office-based roles.

Ian Galbraith

Head of HS&E – geographical and construction

What education route did you take from secondary school to where you are today?

Having left school with a number of GCSEs, I then completed a mechanical engineering apprenticeship with British Steel. I moved into working in construction health and safety in 1989 and gained a number of health and safety qualifications, starting with a general construction certificate leading up to the Level 5 NVQ in Health and Safety. My qualifications and experience have also assisted in gaining chartered membership of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health.


What is your favourite thing about your job?

Meeting lots of different people, working in an ever-changing environment and the feeling of pride when we complete a construction project and see it being occupied and used.


What is the highlight of your day?

Being able to support our project and operational teams, and helping them resolve their problems.


Where do you want your career to take you?

I am fortunate to be able to say I’m pretty much doing the most senior role available to me without moving employers or locations. However, the construction qualifications and experience I’ve built up over a number of years mean there are lots of potential opportunities available to me.


What would you say to someone thinking about a career in construction?

There is a massive misconception of what construction jobs really involve. The technologies now available and being used are excellent, and development is ongoing. Things like digital engineering are a great example, but there is a vast range of opportunities for people looking at how to get into construction, from hands-on work on a site to more office-based roles. There is also, of course, the opportunity to do a bit of both.


Is there anything else you would like to share, which would inspire others to follow their chosen career path?

 

As previously mentioned, there is nothing better than seeing a project go from being a series of lines on a drawing or computer screen, to seeing it grow out of the ground and through to final completion. The icing on the cake is the knowledge that it’s going to be used by future generations for years to come.

What would you say to someone thinking about a career in construction?

My first reaction would be to say ‘do it!’ The sector is so broad that you’ll always feel challenged and rewarded, and as your construction career progresses you can move onto bigger and better projects.

I always knew that I wanted to go to a good university and work in engineering but, after I didn’t do anywhere near as well as I hoped in my AS-level exams, that wasn’t looking likely. After getting those results, I realised I needed to get my act together, and retook the vast majority of my AS exams alongside my A-levels. If you’re passionate about what you want to do you’ll make sure it happens, but it’s OK to have wobbly moments now and again.

 

Learn about some of the misconceptions surrounding construction jobs and construction apprenticeships with our Mythbuster