28 Sep Career Story – Gemma Roberts (Project Manager)
What is your background?
I was brought up to pay attention to the built environment and its history. As a family, we regularly took trips to stately homes, castles and churches throughout the country.
My love of architecture intensified following an A Level study trip to Florence, however, I was overwhelmed by the years of study it would take to become a qualified architect. I chose instead to study History of Art & Architecture at the University of Reading.
After my degree, I struggled with poor self-confidence and as a result spent a few years bouncing from one job to another. I gained a great deal of valuable experience during this time, working for a wide range of companies. However, I never felt like I was close to fulfilling my potential. I craved a more challenging role in an industry that really interested me.
How did you end up working in construction?
In 2013, with my son approaching school age, I was once again job hunting. As a single mother, this presented a variety of challenges.
I was very fortunate to secure a part-time administrative role at the newly opened WWA office in Gloucester. I soon realised that I was finally on the right path.
Why did you want to move into Project Management?
It was always made clear to me that WWA would support my professional development. I therefore, concentrated on supporting my colleagues, being organised and learning all I could about the industry.
Gloucester office Partners, Phil Brown and Dwaine Bushell recognised my potential within Project Management and, offered me the chance pursue this career path. I was terrified but leapt at the chance!
What the day job looks like now as a Project Manager?
Busy! Now my son is older, I can work flexibly, doing 30 hours a week. In this time, I am involved in the day to day running of Premier Inn Extension projects under the Whitbread Accelerated PIX UK Development Programme.
Since 2015, WWA has helped secure planning permission for 15 hotel extensions in the North of England and Scotland.
I’m also working on the Development Monitoring and Project Management of a developer-led extension at the Premier Inn in Oswestry. This gave me my first experience of a construction site.
Would you advise other people to consider a career in construction?
Definitely. It’s an industry that will always be important. There is a huge range of different roles for a variety of career routes. There are also plenty of options available via non-traditional paths into construction, for example via conversion degrees and on the job training.
What are your aspirations for the future?
I recently qualified as a PRINCE2 Practitioner, which has given my confidence a big boost. I now plan to work towards the APM Project Management Qualification and expand my experience and industry knowledge.
Due to my background interests, one day, I would love to have the opportunity work on large scale Heritage projects.
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