My experience working at Faithful+Gould

Alice Wilkes
I always knew I wasn’t cut out for a job which meant being stuck behind a desk day in day out. My uncle is a project manager and it was through him that I got the idea to work in the construction industry.

At school I loved maths and numbers so the obvious choice for me was to have a career in cost management. I joined Faithful+Gould in 2013 straight from 6th form, then went to Birmingham City University to do a part time HNC in Construction, then a BSC in Quantity Surveying.

Joining the world of work

It was a bit of a culture shock coming into the world of work straight after 6th form, especially when most of my friends were studying full-time and living the student lifestyle – I don’t regret my choice though. Whilst my degree was vital to understanding the theory of my current role, it was the hands-on experience that I’ve had whilst working at Faithful+Gould that really taught me about cost management. For example, my personal development objectives were linked to my modules, this really brought learning to life for me.  Another bonus of doing a part-time degree is that compared to my friends, I’m better off financially!

My projects so far

I’ve already been involved in so many great projects. The refurbishment of the rehearsal hall, offices and entrance space of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) was the first project that I was involved in from start to completion, I was so proud when it got shortlisted for the West Midlands RICS Awards. Another project I’ve really enjoyed working on are the refurbishments across the Atkins estate, I liked collaborating with people across different Atkins’ offices.

The variety of projects I’ve been exposed to has been broad. I’d been working mainly on local authority and higher education projects, so when the opportunity to work on the redevelopment of the former Co-op building in Coventry into 64 boutique apartments, new restaurants, retail and leisure facilities came up, it was an opportunity I didn’t want to miss. It was an interesting role as it was employer’s agent, which gave me an insight into the role of a project manager. Working on this project made me realise I really enjoy working on residential schemes.

My top tips

If I had to give some top tips to a trainee, or someone thinking of entering the industry, I’d say, embrace opportunities that come your way. It’s a great way of showcasing your capabilities and enthusiasm.

Given that upon leaving school I was a relatively quiet and reserved person, it wasn’t easy for me at first. However, I found that having a positive attitude has really brought me out of my shell and now I really enjoy working with different teams across the office and the business, as well as clients and other external project stakeholders.

In fact, it’s the people that make me enjoy coming to work, everyone is so supportive, not just in work matters, but if I’m ever dealing with personal problems, I know someone from the team will be there for me too.

What’s in store for my future?

Now that I’ve graduated, my focus for the immediate future is passing my APC. I’ll hopefully sit it in November of this year. It’s hard work but the support provided by the business is excellent, they take the process seriously and even sign a declaration to show their commitment and support to you throughout the process.   

For the long term I really want to progress my career with Faithful+Gould. Obtain more invaluable experience on a wide variety of projects and get opportunities to broaden my skillset within the construction industry.

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