Guest blog: A role in the construction industry

james_purdie_-_photoHello, my name is James Purdie and I am currently working through the graduate scheme at Turner & Townsend, working as a Cost Manager based in the London office. I joined Turner & Townsend in August 2015 after completing my degree in Quantity Surveying at Edinburgh Napier University. I had taken an interest in working in the construction industry during a work experience placement at high school and a family history in this field which gave me an opportunity to see the many different roles available.

My first role upon joining Turner & Townsend was working on Crossrail, based at Tottenham Court Road Station, helping manage the costs of design changes, cost estimating and reporting of periodic cost analysis. This was a great opportunity for me to immediately gain valued experience straight out of university, being able to work on the largest infrastructure project in Europe. I am currently a member of the Cost Assurance team performing audits for clients in the UK rail sector. This involves producing reports which help our clients understand where they may be exposed to overpaying contractors and giving them a better understanding of the way the project information is being captured and managed.

In addition to my day to day role, I am also involved in some of the broader initiatives at Turner & Townsend. For example, I am involved in our YPF (Your Professional Future) recruitment team where most recently, I have taken part in a delivery focussed exercise with graduates from another organisation in the industry, discussing the possibility of a combined service offering and identify opportunities for our combined service. 

My advice to people interested in developing a career in the construction industry would be to obtain as much work experience as possible; even aiming to gain a week in the summer break can give you contacts with organisations and promote your interest in the industry which future employers will recognise. I would also recommend aiming to gain experience in a variety of different roles to allow you to understand how they all connect on a particular project and also help you define where you would like to work in the industry.

For more information about a career in the construction industry, see the Prospects website.

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