I first made contact with Faithful+Gould when I was at university. My third-year placement was a 10-month internship with Faithful+Gould in Los Angeles, followed by a few weeks back in the UK in the Birmingham office before returning to university. I was then offered a graduate project manager position for the following year, subject to getting a 2:1 in my degree.
So in July 2014, I returned to the Birmingham office on the graduate development programme and I also enrolled on a master’s degree in construction project management at Birmingham City University.
My third-year placement was a 10-month internship with Faithful+Gould in Los Angeles, followed by a few weeks back in the UK in the Birmingham office...
Faithful+Gould was very supportive throughout, paying my fees for the master’s and giving me day release to attend. They also supported my dissertation, encouraging me to conduct an in-house survey on my chosen topic of implementing changes in technology. In particular, I explored systems interoperability: software systems that work together, interacting with one another so that the user can easily access information from multiple sources within a single interface.
It’s been interesting to get exposure to the commercial property sector at the Birmingham office, after the mainly oil refinery work I did in LA. I’ve done some education work, including the University of Warwick and the University of Wolverhampton, as well as retail and urban regeneration.
I’m currently working on the regeneration of the Moor, Sheffield, an inner city project with numerous stakeholders. I’m lucky to be shadowing an excellent director, Carol Sutton, who is hugely knowledgeable on contracts and how to use them. She’s very generous with her time and support and I’m learning a great deal on this project.
I’m gradually moving into risk and value management specialisation, beginning with taking the lead on the risk workshops for the Leicester Markets regeneration project.
I’m gradually moving into risk and value management specialisation, beginning with taking the lead on the risk workshops for the Leicester Markets regeneration project. I had previously worked on this project in a PM capacity, and I was delighted to be given this new opportunity. I felt well supported, accompanied by a senior manager in case I needed back-up.
It’s a great example of how Faithful+Gould will try to find a niche for someone with a specific interest. Going forward, I’ll be doing more risk and value work, which will also give me exposure to a wide variety of projects – useful for my future APC application.
Building My Skills Base
It’s been a really interesting two-and-a-half years since I joined the graduate programme. In addition to technical skills, I’ve also developed my people skills and management skills. I’m much better at reading people and situations now, and I know how to get the best response from different members of the design team.
I’m keen to contribute to the next generation of professionals, and I’ve had the opportunity to participate in some of our recruitment activities. For instance, I went along to the career fair at Nottingham Trent University, where I did my degree in construction management, to meet students and give them a realistic picture of working life on a graduate training scheme. I wanted to emphasise that they’re unlikely to just walk in to great jobs – they’ll probably have to do lots of applications, and will need to stay focused and motivated during the process. It’s worth it!
In addition to technical skills, I’ve also developed my people skills and management skills.
I get plenty of networking opportunities in-house. Birmingham is one of our bigger offices, with a team of over 100, including 21 project managers. We have a thriving office social life, and the project management team also have quarterly nights out – it’s a really friendly team.
I feel I’ve come a long way since I started on the graduate programme and I’m looking forward to continuing my career at Faithful+Gould, with all the opportunities that lie ahead –my next focus is the APC, so I’ll be getting down to studying again in the near future.