When people ask me what my previous work experience/background is, they are surprised by my unusual change from Architecture to Project Management.
My passion for the construction industry started at a very early stage of my life. Growing up back home in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, I discovered that I was very curious child and enjoyed problem-solving games such as Lego, in which I could construct objects and reuse them to build new things. I was also very attracted to art and naturally, when the time came, I decided to study an undergrad degree in Architecture at Universidad Nacional Pedro Henriquez Ureña (UNPHU).
Discovering Project Management
After graduating from Architecture, I worked for design consultancies mainly as a Technician where I was in charge of producing architectural and engineering drawings. As I progressed in my career, I became a Project Assistant where I provided support to the project and CAD managers by leading a small team of technicians. Working in this multidimensional role, I soon realised that within the architecture field, there is an element of managing people and projects and that architecture is not solely linked to the design aspect as it is traditionally seen. During that time, I discovered that Project Management was a new area of the construction industry that I wanted to explore, so I decided to further develop my project management skills and began looking into courses to help with this.
One day I noticed a publication in the newspaper from the Ministry of Education, advertising international courses for young professionals. Project Management was included within the list of courses and surprisingly located in a very distant place from my hometown - in Glasgow, United Kingdom. I applied and was granted a scholarship to Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) to undertake a MSc in International Project Management. This was perhaps, one of the most important decisions in my life - leaving my family, friends, culture and native language was scary in the beginning but I was excited about the opportunity to expand my horizons.
“Since joining Faithful+Gould as an Intern, Rose’s confidence and ability as a Project Manager has continued to grow. Her international experience and background in Architecture, allows Rose to tackle tasks from a different angle and our team have benefitted from her sharing this knowledge. Rose is a great addition to the team”
Claire Nelson, Senior Project Manager
Expanding my horizons
I have always been a goal driven person and motivated by challenge. During my time at GCU, I tried to participate in as many networking activities and skills workshops as I could. When I was finalising my MSc Dissertation, I participated in a student competition where I had to make a presentation to a project management company, and it was winning this competition that gave me the confidence to apply for a three-week internship offered by Faithful+Gould, which I successfully secured.
The internship reaffirmed my interest in becoming a Project Manager and led to a gratifying and unexpected permanent role as an Assistant Project Manager within Faithful+Gould. I am glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone and I can proudly say, I was the first international employee in the Glasgow office.
Being a Project Manager
As a Project Manager, you can find yourself working throughout the whole lifecycle of a project. Project Management is present from the beginning to the end of a project and involves an understanding of diverse elements such as costs, design, risks, contracts, etc, which I believe has complemented my previous background in Architecture. The thing I like the most about Project Management is that every day is different, this makes my work diverse and interesting.
My day to day activities entail managing information, stakeholders, attending meetings, updating action trackers, reports and creating programmes. I am currently working on the Research Hub project for the University of Glasgow (UoG) Campus Redevelopment project which has been a challenge but ultimately an incredible experience. I feel extremely lucky to have exposure to one of the biggest procurement projects in Britain at this early stage in my career.
I recently celebrated my one-year anniversary with Faithful+Gould and the experience I have gained has greatly enriched my knowledge in construction. I have received great support from my supervisor and my colleagues who have been very welcoming and friendly, diminishing any worries I’ve had along the way. I am currently working towards becoming a chartered Project Manager and I am confident Faithful+Gould will support me in becoming the best version of myself by developing my skills and knowledge and supporting all my aspirations.