Career Story: Emily Hayden – Project Manager

Project Management

Career Story: Emily Hayden – Project Manager

How did you get into Construction?

I had an interest in the property market from a young age and therefore, decided to start my career with a local residential letting agents at 17.

After a few years working as an agent, I realised that my passion was to be involved in the construction of buildings. This type of role would enable me to be able to get out on site, as well as spending time in the office.

After researching different career paths and the options available to me, I decided to embark on a distance learning degree and enrolled on the BSc in Building Surveying through the College of Estate Management.

During my studies, I continued working full time in residential lettings, which allowed me to continue my professional development and avoid the debt incurred when going away to university. I had to learn very quickly to manage my time effectively, striking a balance between work, study and life, which was not always easy, but in the end was incredibly rewarding.

I was fortunate to secure a role as a Graduate Building Surveyor with a local practice during my final year and graduated with a First Class Honours degree in 2014.

I then joined WWA in January 2016 as a Building Surveyor/Project Manager, as there were opportunities to work on larger-scale projects and for greater career development.

What’s the day job?

Wearing my Building Surveying hat, I can be found inspecting buildings for defects, undertaking the design and specification of small building projects and repairs, carrying out contract administration of works on site or even negotiating Party Wall matters.

As a Project Manager, I work for the Client to bring together and coordinate the wider project team to ensure project delivery meets the Client’s objectives. The role enables me to apply my technical knowledge and requires good communication and leadership skills. I am currently working on the delivery of the extension and refurbishment of the Market Hall building in Plymouth, which will provide a digital technology hub for the city.

I enjoy the variety each day brings and that I can be on a site reviewing works with contractors in the morning and back in the office delivering multi-million pound projects in the afternoon. As is often said of the construction industry, two days are rarely the same.

Why should young people go into construction?

The construction industry is incredibly diverse and there are so many opportunities available, whatever your interest. There is great potential for career development within the industry and scope to work abroad, particularly if you become Chartered with the RICS.

For young people starting out, I would suggest getting some work experience to find out which aspect of the industry most appeals to you and to get an insight into the different roles. Until I started working in the industry I certainly had no idea of the variety of opportunities available.

Tell us about your involvement with RICS Matrics?

I have been a committee member of the RICS Matrics Devon & Cornwall branch since 2014 and became Vice-Chairman of the Cornwall arm last year. Through my role, I work with the other committee members to host a range of CPD and networking events in Devon and Cornwall.

WWA also has a strong emphasis on supporting APC candidates and I recently hosted an Autumn APC Surgery in our Plymouth office, jointly with the RICS Matrics.

What are the benefits of getting involved with a professional organisation such RICS Matrics?

The power of networking is so important at an early stage in your career. By getting involved in RICS Matrics, it provides the opportunity to meet with other professionals in the area and make long-term friends with those in the same industry.

These connections become an invaluable source of support not only for milestones such as passing your APC, but throughout your career and developing business opportunities.

What are your aspirations for the future?

Personally, I have recently qualified as a Chartered Surveyor and am focussed on building my career with WWA and progressing through the company.

On a wider scale, I hope to see continued growth in the number of young people taking up careers in construction and I strongly advocate distance learning as a route into the industry. Through this route you are able to apply academic learning to practical work experience, starting your career development at a much earlier stage.