1. Tell us about yourself.
I grew up in Norwich and after spending some time working in construction, decided I needed a better understanding of the field, and so embarked on a Construction Management FdSc at the University of Suffolk, and subsequently a Quantity Surveying BSc part-time at ARU whilst working for local contractor, RG Carter Construction. Just before I finished my studies, I joined the national contractor Balfour Beatty as an Intermediate Quantity Surveyor to work on a highway project, and this is where my career really started to take off.
Just after graduating in 2016, I moved to Sydney to join one of Australia's largest contractors, Lendlease, on a A$2.6Bn (£1.5Bn) tunnel project which opened in 2020, and another A$3.2Bn (£1.75Bn) tunnel project due for opening in 2023 where I worked as a Commercial Lead.
Australia has survived the COVID-19 pandemic relatively well, and New South Wales has heavily invested in infrastructure spending, meaning there have been some fantastic opportunities for people with good commercial and engineering skills, and I have been fortunate to work with many people from over the world from quantity surveying backgrounds. My current role sees me on a much smaller, but still big, A$190m (£100m) rail upgrade project in Sydney as a Senior Contract Administrator.
2. What is your fondest memory at Anglia Ruskin University?
As a part-time student, it was great to meet up once week with people from across the region who were working on many different types of projects, and to share our experiences. Having these discussions showed me that there was more to the world than the small work bubble I was living and working in, and ultimately helped me to broaden my horizons.
3. What has been your favourite job?
I am lucky to have had a few large projects that I have been able to work on, but my first project here in Sydney will always stand out. There is a great mix of people from across the world all brought together, and it has been a great place to both learn from everyone but enjoy our downtime too and make some great friends and contacts.
4. In one word, how would you describe Anglia Ruskin University
5. How did your time at Anglia Ruskin help you?
It brought together a lot of the things I wasn’t learning whilst doing on the job training. I knew how to do tasks, and the way others had taught me, but was missing some of the theory and correct way of doing things, which I learned at ARU.
6. What did you love about your chosen course?
We had some great lecturers, and I enjoyed my time with Dr Nadeeshani Wanigarathna who made learning fun. My fellow students were always open to debating what we thought were the best solutions to questions or tasks we were set.
7. What advice would you give to current students as they're preparing to graduate?
Put yourself out there to get the best experiences. Say yes to working and networking opportunities, as you never know where this might lead you in the future. Write to businesses or people who inspire you; my journey started because I wrote a letter explaining what I wanted to do, and the right person saw it. As a graduate, attitude is looked upon more favourably than experience.
8. What do you know now that you wish you had known whilst studying?
Fully understanding how construction projects work, and how we interact with all the different stakeholders would definitely have been valuable information to help me understand what was required, as well as how to write my essays.
9. Who was the biggest influence on your career?
It’s tough to say as I have always been very self-motivated, but my first manager in Australia believed in me and that gave me good opportunities for growth that are still helping me today.
10. What advice would you give your younger self?
You don’t need to, and in fact aren’t expected to, know everything in the beginning of your career. Don’t be embarrassed to ask questions to help you learn and try and absorb as much information as you can.
11. Tell us something about yourself that most people don't know.
Having left school with no A Levels, I thought that going to university for the first time at 26 would see me as the oldest in the class, and I would struggle to keep up with people who had been used to regular study. In fact, I wasn’t the oldest, and I realised that people study in different ways and at different times, and it would turn out okay in the end (I gained a First Class Honours!).
12. What's next?
Having moved to a smaller project, I aim to improve a broader set of skills so I can move towards a Commercial Manager role in the future, and figure how to juggle that with 2 children under 3. Wish me luck!