I graduated with a BSc (Hons) Quantity Surveying from Edinburgh Napier University
At the time I graduated in 2009 the construction sector within the UK had gone into a downturn as the recession had begun. I found it very difficult to get any kind of start into the industry as companies were taking on very few graduates if at all. I applied for most jobs that were available at the time but I got no further as the job market was slow and each new position was oversubscribed with new graduates and people already working in the industry.
I was expecting it to much easier to get into the industry after my studies as there was a shortage of Quantity Surveyors in the industry when I started my degree. But as I got closer to graduating it became clear that it was going to be very difficult to get a job after university as the big news at the time was the recession.
I looked for employment initially through my university careers centre and graduate recruitment companies. With not having much luck I continued to apply for positions to get on the career path while working minimum wage jobs. I ultimately decided to move to Canada for a year to work and travel and upon coming back to Scotland I set my goals on getting a career job once again.
I had previously applied for a job through Contract Scotland and I was therefore on their mailing list. I received an email about a work placement programme from Gillian asking If I would be interested in doing a work placement to gain experience in the industry. So I replied to her email and we set up an interview shortly after.
After the initial meeting at the Contract Scotland office with Gillian I was then invited for an interview at the Queensferry Crossing with the joint venture Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors. I then started a 3-week work placement as a Trainee Quantity Surveyor working as part of the commercial team in the main office. As I graduated a few years ago I felt that I was being overlooked by employers for more recent graduates and this is where Constructing Futures gave me the opportunity to get that much needed first step into the industry.
During my placement at FCBC I was working as a Trainee Quantity Surveyor within the commercial team. My main duties were to analyse and process payment applications for the ongoing management of subcontractors on site. I had to liaise with subcontractor representatives to correct costs for any adjustments to payments and create variation orders when needed for any changes to works on site. I learned how to use the company payment application templates to process payments and raise variation orders in line with the terms and conditions of the contract. I was also assisting a senior quantity surveyor to calculate and input cost data for monthly cost reports. The highlight of my placement was going on a site visit to the central tower of the bridge where I gained a good understanding of how the construction processes take place and come together from a first-hand perspective. Working on the Queensferry Crossing project has given me invaluable experience within the industry which I hope will be a great starting position to build on for my career in the future.
After my initial working placement at FCBC I had an internal review meeting where I was offered a 6-month ongoing contract to continue working on the Queensferry Crossing project. I have now officially been working on the Queensferry Crossing project since March 2016. Without the Constructing Futures programme, I would not have been given the opportunity to gain work experience on this project and ultimately what has led to the job I work in today.
I would highly recommend Constructing Futures to any graduates looking to get their first career step but are finding it difficult to get that first job. As I graduated several years ago and was being overlooked by employers for more recent or experienced graduates, Constructing Futures gave me the opportunity I needed to get that step into the industry and gain the experience employers are looking for.
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