Build your career in the construction industry - there's something for everyone

Employability Service

Category: Student support services

5 March 2021

Most of us imagine construction careers involve high-vis clad site workers undertaking intense manual handling work. But the construction sector offers huge diversity in employment options: this blog explores an industry that you may not have considered yet.

Did you know that this exciting industry offers career opportunities not only for students on traditional engineering degrees but also employs graduates in for example, data analysis, sales, planning, logistics, supply chain, finance, IT, human resources, lab work, and marketing? The list is endless...

Holly Baker is an ARU Psychosocial Studies graduate who has been working in the built environment sector for a number of years. As Health and Safety Adviser at Lovells, (and qualified Mental Health First Aider) Holly says her job is equally rewarding: “I love feeling like I am helping to create a safer and better place to work. I play a part in making sure that colleagues go safely home to their families at the end of a long day on site. I also enjoy seeing parks, schools and hospitals that through supporting colleagues I’ve helped to safely create.”

The pandemic brought challenges for the industry with trade and travel restrictions, increased operating costs and the April/May 2020 lockdown, but the sector has launched its own roadmap to recovery, and high-profile developments such as HS2 have even doubled their graduate opportunities, despite the impacts of Covid-19.

City skyline

Jonathan Lawes is an ARU Building Surveying graduate whose career has grown from a placement year with the ARU Estates team, to six years delivering exciting projects for the Ministry of Defence. He says: “I really enjoy working within an organisation that is keen to develop new and innovative ideas for work and study spaces across a very diverse built environment portfolio.”

Jonathan’s current role as Head of ARU Projects involves working collaboratively with senior managers, skilled consultants and in-house experts. Jonathan says facilities and estates management is a challenging but hugely rewarding role: “Seeing a major project (or any sized project) through to completion and operation offers a great feeling of job satisfaction.”

Jonathan’s top tip for students exploring careers in construction is to “seek out practical experience as nothing beats getting hands on in the built environment!” Check out Gradcracker for a summer internship and placement opportunities so that you can start to explore where your strengths, skills and passions may fit best, on and off site.

Both Holly and Jonathan also recommend getting involved in professional membership bodies as you explore construction careers. Holly advises, “Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and make career contacts.” To find out more about Holly’s role, and hear from a range of professionals from organisations such as Crossrail, make sure you book on to the Women in the Built Environment webinar which forms part of the CIOB and ARU International Women’s Day celebrations.

Another great way to explore construction careers, is the Construction Youth Network podcast series. The podcast was created by Craig Shaw, an ARU Building Surveying graduate and CIOB Committee member, who is passionate about enabling students and younger learners to fully explore construction careers.

If you’d like to hear more about Jonathan’s career journey, join us for the Careers in Estates and Facilities Management event. To explore pathways and job options within the construction industry, see the recorded webinar of Careers In Construction Without an Engineering Degree and talk to an Employability & Careers Adviser through [email protected].

By Khrieu Healy, Employability & Careers Adviser

Our Employability Service works with students throughout their time at ARU and after they graduate. The Service offers careers advice, online resources, and help with job searches, applications and interview preparation. Our Employability & Careers Advisers may mention some of these resources and services in their blogs, to give you an idea of the careers support that's on offer at ARU. Some of these resources sit behind a log in and can only be accessed by current students.


The views expressed here are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the views of Anglia Ruskin University. If you've got any concerns please contact us.