A career in construction, by Miss Jessica Rooney

Jessica Rooney has delved into the world of construction and is now an assistant manager working for a major firm. We wanted to find out what makes her tick, why she chose to work in this male dominated industry and what her plans are for the future…

So, tell me a little bit about you. How did you get to where you are now and what is it that you do?

I have always been passionate about construction and knew that that was my chosen career. I started off at an early age when Wrexham council gave me the opportunity to work within the housing renewal section on work experience and then I went on to study a construction BTEC in college. I also did a night course in 2D AutoCAD every Monday night because I knew that when I started university this would definitely benefit my studies by expanding my knowledge in more areas of the built environment.

I then went on to study building surveying and during my summer holidays I took work experience at a surveying firm in Liverpool to gain as much experience as possible.

When I finished my degree it was harder to get a job than I thought, we were coming out of a recession and I’d applied to lots of jobs and felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere. Thankfully read construction gave me the opportunity to start my career as an assistant site manager on one of there up coming projects Chester zoo the islands. This was an amazing opportunity for me and since then I have been on a number of course and my more recent achievement was completing my SMSTS (site manager safety training scheme).

What made you want a career in construction?

I know it’s sounds a it cliche but Iv always been interested in building and loved the programmes and documentaries about people who design and build their own homes. I’ve always had a fascination with architecture especially landmarks and their characteristics. I remember going to London and seeing Norman foster’s gherkin building and being mesmerised by it!! I wanted to read about building or go and visit city’s and landscapes from a young age and I suppose I knew then what I wanted to do 🙂

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What has been your favourite project and why?

Chester Zoo the Islands for sure! which was actually my first project with Read and attracted me to the company. The project was amazing I got to work with a few site managers so it was good experience to see how people work differently. It was a very busy site with over 100 people on site at one point! I had a number of responsibilities on site from delivery management, drawing control, I completed a number of condition surveys and level surveys and helped introduce new processes on site to minimise waste consumption and sustainable alternatives. Sustainability is an ever growing topic in construction and lots of new builds are now BREEAM and CEEQUAL accredited so it was great experience.

What has been the best thing about being a woman in this industry?

I suppose it helps you stand out a bit,  companies want to encourage and invest more in women because this is such a male dominated industry. The government have many amazing initiatives for women in leadership with plenty of courses, funding and grants also available which is also appealing!

No matter your gender though, if your good at what you do you will stand out and shine in this industry.

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What is the biggest challenge about being a woman in this industry?

I think that whatever your vocation in life there’s always going to be challenges whether your a male or a female but as long as you enjoy your job and are passionate about it and have the aspirations to be good at what you do then you will go a long way.

What advice would you give to females wanting to follow in your footsteps?

I would love to inspire young girls into construction and one thing I would say is constantly look to better yourself and improve your knowledge, go on courses, read your books, do your homework and never be afraid to ask questions!

Where do you hope to take your career in the future?

My dream is to manage my own site, maybe even a multi million pound project 😉

Fancy a career in construction? Tweet us or ask Jess herself here.


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