Graduates in Construction: My experience as a Project Manager

Sarah Deaves
I joined Faithful+Gould nearly six years ago but I started to take an interest in the construction industry at an early age.

My grandfather was in the industry and I wanted to follow in his footsteps because he loved his job so much that he was still working into his 70’s. After completion of my A-Levels, I studied a BSc in Construction Management at Nottingham Trent University and in 2014 I joined Faithful+Gould’s Nottingham office as a Graduate Project Manager.

Graduate support

Within the first month of joining the business I was sent on a two-day introduction session to the Graduate Scheme. This was an eye-opening experience as I was exposed to and able to network with my peers from across the wider Atkins Group. After the introduction event, there was an annual workshop to guide us on how to improve certain skill sets that would assist our personal growth. The sessions covered skills such as personality types and personal brand. These were both to help us appreciate our strengths and how we come across when we engage with new people.

Work experience

I have worked on a variety of projects but the project that I think I will always remember is the St Luke’s Treatment Centre, which was my first project after being promoted from Graduate Project Manager to Project Manager. It was a brilliant project with a great team but did have its challenges as it had several stakeholders with varying needs. There are a few lessons learnt from the project that I have taken forward onto other schemes, which is another reason why it’s memorable, it really helped me grow my skills.

More recently, the business sent me on an inhouse course to energise your career, this workshop was designed to analyse your career to date and provide you with the tools to assist in moving your career forward. The workshop reviewed career anchors and helped to establish what areas of your life you would not look to alter as your career moved forwards. It really helped me to understand my motivations, and I have been able to utilise the skillssuch as analysing my career path and ensuring I am moving my career forward.  

Next Generation Business Development

Outside of my day to day work as a Project Manager, the Nottingham office has an active Next Generation Business Development (NGBD) group which I lead. This group provides opportunities for the less experienced people in the office to get involved in Business Development, such as bid writing and networking. It’s also improved my presentation skills and how to manage people from other teams.

As part of my role with NGBD, we have been tasked with leading the office’s corporate social activity. Last year, we supported Nottinghamshire Hospice. The initiative allowed us to give something back to our local community. We had supported them in previous years by volunteering our time on fundraising events. This kicked off our commitment to donate 150 hours over the year, and thanks to generous colleagues, progress was made towards raising the £1,000 target set. 

Looking to the future

Thanks to the opportunities and experience I have gained over the last five years, I look to the future with excitement. My skills continue to develop and grow, along with my understanding of the various facets of my role, this will help me to achieve my next goal to progress into a more senior role within the business.

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