Emma Bull – Community Engagement Manager
After leaving school with little idea on what I wanted to do, I joined a government scheme to help me to get into an office environment and supplement my GCSE qualifications. I worked within the scheme for 2 years working for a range of employers and despite leaving the scheme and gaining full time paid employment as a research assistant I was looking for a new challenge that gave me an opportunity to grow professionally and be rewarded for my hard work.
I was good at mathematics and spotted an advertisement for an Assistant Quantity Surveyors role – even though I knew little about it I thought I would give it a try! Luckily, despite having no experience in the Construction Industry, the employer, a local authority, saw my potential and enthusiasm and I haven’t looked back since!
That initial role was fantastic for me – I did my BSc (Hons) degree in Quantity Surveying part time, so it took 6 years but during that time I was working 4 days a week while in college, or 5 days during the academic breaks – meaning I was able to immediately put my studies into practice in the workplace. I was recognised for my hard work and commitment too, gaining promotion every year for the first 2 years working for the local authority.
I then took the huge step into the private sector, working for a groundworking contractor and being responsible for the financial management of projects from £4m to £10m. That was hugely different and gave me massive responsibility, which led me to gaining a foot in the door for a large Main Contractor. As I felt I had learned a lot about groundworking, I wanted to work for an employer that could give me experience of the whole built environment, offering more of a range of experiences. I managed build projects for a large National Main Contractor as a Surveyor with values from £6m to £13m and once I had conquered that, my career path changed, as did the industry, and I discovered a skill for working with end users directly to ensure that the construction site resources provided benefits to them and the local communities. This meant all sorts of things from job opportunities to community projects and many of them involved me presenting to large groups of young people to tell them about this whole exciting, rewarding and ever changing industry. Also, I was able to use my creativity and enthusiasm to communicate these suggestions to potential clients which all helped secure more and more work for my employer.
Now I work for a large multi-national Main Contractor as a Community Engagement Manager, which involves ensuring we are using our projects to secure sustainable – i.e. long lasting, benefits to our project communities that outlive our build phase.
I am lucky to work in such a diverse industry where every day is different as is every project, project teams and locations – it keeps me on my toes and uses the best of my skills, and I get rewarded well for the hard work I put in. All I wanted to be when I was younger was successful in my pursuits and I think I can say I have achieved that!
If you are considering the industry I urge you to have a look – there are hundreds of different occupations to consider and develop into – look at me, my career now isn’t what I studied for but the skills and experience I have, have has since provided me with further professional qualifications and recently, I gained Fellowship for the Chartered Institute of Builders, something I am very proud of.
If you are looking for an opportunity that rewards you for the hard work you put in and you are able to communicate well – or like me learn quickly though ambition and enthusiasm, and want something totally different that provides the ‘I built’ factor, where you can look back on a project and know it so well you feel like you built it yourself, please have a look at Construction, its fantastic!