I got into the Construction industry by chance, but it’s one of the best things I’ve done. I left college and went into the Army. My brother was in the Royal Engineers and I followed in his footsteps, but I left after six months and found a job as a Dry Liner in 1998 when I was 18. At the time it was a job that was there so I took it. I never thought at the time it would be the start of my career in the industry. When I was 25 my partner’s father offered me a job in his mechanical company which is where I worked for the next three years. In 2009, I met an old family friend in the fitness club where I play squash and he told me about an opening at his company, Millane Contract Services, for a Surveyor and Estimator. I was just finishing a job in Reading at the time, so when that was complete I gave him a ring and he offered me the job.
I am still working for Millane Contract Services, and it was the move to this job which enabled me to further my education in the industry. My employer was keen to expand the work force’s knowledge and knew in the long term it would pay off and benefit the company, so I was offered to be enrolled on to the College’s FDSC Construction Management course, which is a foundation degree. It was a bit daunting at first, the thought of ‘going back to school’ was quite surreal, but I knew it was the right thing to do, so I took up the offer. The course was fantastic, it gave me an insight across the whole industry and took me out of my comfort zone. Doing the foundation degree while working was fantastic, because I could instantly put into practice what I had learnt, which helped me remember it, so they went hand in hand. It has also enabled me to appreciate other aspects of the job.
Would I recommend the course to other people? Absolutely. The tutors were amazing and you got a sense they were not only passionate about the subject they were teaching, but also about you succeeding. It often gave me that extra boost to prove to them that they were right to think that I could do well. Even though the course has finished, I am still in contact with one of my lecturers, Anthony, which is really nice. I have also made some great friends from all walks of life and ages while being on the course and a few of us are now at the University of East London (UEL) studying Construction Management as a top up degree as a follow up. One of the great things about the foundation degree was the fact that it gave you a great insight into the subject and you could follow on from it if you wanted, but if you didn’t want to it didn’t necessarily matter as you still had a qualification. Taking on a degree is a big commitment and some people, for whatever reason, just cannot do it. The foundation degree enables you to ‘test the water’ as it were and then go from there if you want to. The fact that I was a mature student was also beneficial in my eyes. Sometimes, when you’re younger, it’s difficult to really know what you want to do in life and the opportunity’s wasted. This way I found what I wanted to do and then followed it up with a qualification.
My career so far in the industry has been an exciting and varied one – I have worked on projects in Heathrow’s Terminal 5, helped install the corporate boxes at Wembley Stadium and bomb proof walls at the Ministry of Defence. Once I have completed my course at the UEL I’m going to give education a break for a while to spend more time with my family. The whole experience has been great and who knows, in the future when the children are grown up, it might be the right time to do my Masters.