On Wednesday 4 February 2015, UCL’s Bartlett School of Construction & Project Management (C&PM) welcomed Construction Industry professionals along with school alumni, recent graduates and faculty staff to their annual C&PM Student Careers Networking Event. This year’s event came with a twist with the introduction of a ‘Speed Networking’ session. Buro Four Project Manager Orlagh McCauley, was asked to take part by hosting a table and answering questions on her own experience of career progression in the construction industry.
C & PM Careers Lecturer Dr Satu Teerikangas kicked off proceedings with a warm welcome, followed by an hour of short, inspirational talks from speakers who came from a wide industry spectrum. This year’s event had an emphasis on career change and career pathways for international students in the UK job market.
Inspiration commenced with co-founder of the Career Practice, Denise Mulchrone bestowing creative job hunting tips followed by Suraj Govind (Commercial Graduate, Subsea 7), who gave an account of the trials and trepidations of the International Student’s UK job hunt. Differing as these talks were, they both inspired the same message to future recruits of the construction – Never give up!
Next on the agenda was an economist’s perspective of the market from Alberto deBiasio (Consultant, Aecom) who inspired both students and professionals of the possibilities of academia and industry collaboration. Ioanna Kougia, (Senior Architect, Arup) and Sharan Ahluwalia (PM Analyst, PA Consulting Group) delved into the possibilities and options there are inside and outside of the construction world dishing out career changing advice from both junior and senior viewpoints. Last but by no means least, Illona Kusama (PhD Candidate, UCL) imparted with the opportunities available to those who opt for a more academic route into industry.
A quick break and the Speed Networking session was underway comprising of ten tables of faculty and industry professionals. The students were split into groups and the sound of the bell signifying each group to move and mingle.
The student body in attendance were a mix of Undergraduate and Masters students from various courses under the Bartlett School’s C & PM umbrella. Conversation and questions raised ranged from the benefits of a structured graduate scheme to the options open to Students who are finishing off a Masters course with a view to breaking into the construction industry or a facet thereof.
Emphasis on transferrable skills and the relevance of experience over industry type was the overarching theme of the evening, with the odd ‘can you get me a job?’ thrown in – sometimes you don’t ask, you don’t get! With considered and thought provoking questions highlighting the ever more global nature of the construction world, both in academic terms and industry terms the evening was a definite networking success.
All in all, the lasting thought was proffered by Suraji Govind’s choice quote: “Sometimes we’re tested. Not to show our weaknesses, but to discover our strengths”.
Posted by: Orlagh McCauley, Project Manager
Date: Thursday 12 February 2015