Job title: Graduate trainee manager – working on the Arora Hotel project at Heathrow for Laing O’Rourke
University: Portsmouth University
Degree: Business Information Technology, 2:1, Graduated: 2004
Why did you choose your degree?
I chose an IT–related degree because this was the subject I really enjoyed at school. I felt that combing it with business would give the degree more scope.
What motivated you to apply for the job you’re in?
I did a 12–month sandwich placement as part of my degree and worked for De Beers. It was a good placement but it made me realise that I didn’t want to go into an IT–support role; so I started to explore graduate schemes that offered long–term career prospects. I chose the Graduate Management Programme at Laing O’Rourke because it offered the opportunity to do placements in different business units and departments within the group.
What did the application process involve?
There was an online application form and soon after I received an invitation to an assessment centre. It was a long day that included psychometric tests, group exercises and an interview.
What does your job involve?
After placements in planning, estimating and human resources, I am now based in procurement. My job is to identify and co–ordinate sub–contractors from our supply chain to carry out work within an agreed budget and to a set time–frame. This involves writing scope of works, marking–up drawings and co–ordinating with the design and construction team to ensure information is available to go out to tender. Once a tender is returned, my job involves comparing results and bringing the successful sub–contractor on board.
What do you do on a typical day?
There is a range of work packages. It could be starting off a new package or continuing to work within the scope of another. I speak to sub–contractors to find out whether they want to tender for a particular package and schedule preliminary meetings.
What do you like most about the job?
No two days of any placement have been similar; it’s one of the reasons why I enjoy it so much. I also enjoy the fact that the work creates something tangible: you see the building rise up and then take it through to completion. The people on all the placements have also been really helpful.
I don’t have a construction degree but people are always happy to sit down and help me understand things.
What are the most difficult aspects?
Sometimes you get used to a project and then it’s time to move on. But that’s the nature of construction and starting on a new project is always exhilarating.
What advice do you have for students considering a similar career path?
If you enjoy variety and a challenge, it’s the perfect career choice. If you have an open mind and mature attitude you’ll fit in fine and thoroughly enjoy it.