Let's Hear it For Construction Careers

Adele Curry
A career in the construction consultancy professions is a very viable option for non-cognate graduates.

Sometimes I’m surprised to find myself in the construction industry! It wasn’t on my radar when I was first at university. After my degree in art and design, I progressed onto the PGCE course in pursuit of becoming an art teacher. I soon found however that this career was not for me. I worked for a university in an admin capacity while I explored options for work that would combine my passion for both design and business admin. I never anticipated all that the construction industry would have to offer!

Getting into project management

My brother is an architectural technologist and some of my friends had gone into quantity surveying, so I had the beginnings of an interest in the built environment. Birmingham City University has several courses open to non-cognate applicants and the MSc in Construction was ideal for me. Students came from different backgrounds, and, as a non-cognate, I worked hard to prove myself. I also gained practical experience with a local authority’s conservation and housing strategy departments.

Working towards the APC

I joined Faithful+Gould’s graduate development programme at the Nottingham office in 2012. I was aware of the business’s reputation for welcoming applicants from both cognate and non-cognate backgrounds, so it was my first choice.

My current challenge is the APC chartership in project management. Faithful+Gould funds this and also ensures that you get the right project exposure and help with the various modules. It’s time consuming, but I’m in my final year now, working towards my APC final assessment interview in 2016.

Why does no one suggest construction?

Overall I’m really pleased to be in the construction industry. I’ve got a structured career path ahead, I learn something new every day and I’m never bored. But when I was at school, no one ever suggested construction to me. I knew nothing about the professional/consultancy roles. I’m keen to promote these multidisciplinary roles to young people and to emphasise that diverse academic backgrounds are fine. No matter what you studied at school or university, there are opportunities in this industry.

Film debut

Recently I appeared in a Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) film to encourage young people into the industry. A series of video case-studies showcased people who work in the sector, to inspire potential entrants, bringing the careers options to life.

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Going into schools

I help run Faithful+Gould’s school taster days, where we illustrate the wide variety of opportunities by involving students in hands-on tasks. We’ve had great feedback – encouragingly we get just as many girls as boys enthusing about them. I’ve also been involved with school CV workshops and mock interviews.

Broadening interests

One of the great things about Faithful+Gould is the chance to get involved in different areas. The business is keen to encourage younger members to have a stake in business development and I was selected to take part in our pilot Next Generation Business Development initiative. In the Nottingham office, we’re continuing post-pilot – I’m working on the business plans for our local industry and manufacturing sector.

Another of my interests is BIM. I’m now a member of our internal BIM working group, where we explore the best ways to disseminate BIM knowledge and experience across the business and to our clients. If you’re keen, your enthusiasm is quickly snapped up here!

The future looks bright

I’m interested in building conservation, and recently I’ve been working on the feasibility study for a Grade II* office building in Nottingham. I’d like to explore ways of working with BIM on historic building projects, and as the business has a growing heritage portfolio there may be future openings.

Looking ahead, I’d like to move into a managerial role, or to specialise in a particular sector. The industry offers such broad opportunities and Faithful+Gould encourages us so much – construction has certainly been the right choice for me!