Debbie Simmonds, 26, is an assistant construction manager for Multiplex Constructions (UK) and is involved in the White City Development project, which is a 45-acre retail project in west London. She graduated from Bristol University with a degree in Economics and Accounting with Law.
"I’m lucky enough to be able to say that I love my job. No two days are the same and I’m never stuck behind a desk in an office," says Debbie. She found the job after an unsuccessful stint working in stock allocation for a big retailer. "I found the work really boring and only lasted a few weeks before I quit," she says. "It was through a friend that I heard that Multiplex were looking for graduates and although I didn’t know exactly what careers were available I decided to send my application in."
Knowing a bit about the industry helped her in the interview and she was able to use her enthusiasm for the sector to get around the fact that she didn’t know which role might suit her.
"I know a bit about property management through my family and I don’t think I have the usual misconceptions about the sector being dull, which many graduates have," she says. "And the stereotype of builders with their bums hanging out just doesn’t exist here. The industry is very professional."
She started as an assistant to the senior project planner on the White City development project and is now managing a large part of the London Underground works at the site. This involves running the day-to-day site activities that are taking place one particular area. "There are a number of contractors on site and a large part of my job involves running the interface between them and also managing the quality control procedure," she explains. "I had thought that my lack of technical knowledge might hold me back but actually the key to my job is managing people. Multiplex have been good enough to put me on a three-year Chartered Institute of Building diploma course in construction management, which will help me further my career."
What most appeals to her about the job is being outside and not sitting at the desk all day. "It will also be amazing to revisit this project when it’s built and know I played a part in its creation." Her least favourite part of the job is the hours. "I really don’t like working on Saturday, which can happen." The industry is very goal driven and Debbie knows that it can be frustrating not to meet these, particularly as there is often a lot of money at stake. "But you are part of a team so even when things aren’t going well it’s not one person that has to deal with it alone, you know that the team is behind you."