01 Mar Career Story – Rachel Price (Associate Director)
Associate Partner, Rachel Price based in the WWA Exeter office, shares her Career Story:
How did you get into Construction?
Until reaching my third year at University, I never imagined myself working in construction, despite having been exposed to the Industry during my childhood as a result of my Father’s work.
I grew up in Devon, before moving to Cardiff where I studied Business Management. During my degree, I was fortunate enough to obtain a summer placement with an International Consultancy. This three month placement gave me experience in both Project and Cost Management and I rapidly realised that I enjoyed the opportunity and challenges that the Construction Industry presented.
I graduated from Cardiff University with a first class Business Management degree and immediately gained a role as a Graduate Project Manager. My route to the industry was not ‘typical’ and I was required to undertake a conversion degree. As such, I commenced a part-time Master’s degree in Project Management, from which I graduated with Distinction. Balancing a full time career and a part time degree was an challenge, but the time invested paid off, when I sat and passed my APC, becoming a Member of the RICS.
What’s the day job?
It would be fair to say that no two days are the same and there is never a dull moment!! As a Project Manager my involvement can commence at the point when a construction project is merely an idea and, as such, can be over a number of years. I often act as the Client’s ‘eyes and ears’, managing the Consultant and Contractor Teams whilst reinforcing the Clients aims and objectives. As a result, I have the opportunity to truly understand the way in which the Client’s organisation operates, its overall strategy and wider aspirations.
I am often found with a phone clamped to my ear or chairing a meeting, however, I also prepare tenders, appoint consultants and contractors, identify the scope of works to be undertaken by all parties engaged in a project, write programmes, manage risks and seek to solve problems, to name but a few activities!
One of my current projects is delivering the Somerset Pavilion for Somerset County Cricket Club, which involves the demolition of the existing Old Pavilion and the creation of a new, state of the art building which will provide an improved facility for the Clubs Members, Spectators and Staff, whilst also allowing them to host International Cricket. My involvement with the project commenced in early 2012, and I have managed the team through the process. Works are now on site, with completion due in autumn 2015.
The variety that I enjoy within my role also extends beyond project delivery. I have recently become an RICS APC Doctor and Assessor, which gives me the opportunity to meet candidates looking to sit their APC (the route to RICS Chartership) and sit on the Interview Panel for the final Interview. In addition, I take an active role within the local construction and wider business community, including involvement in Women in Property and South West Women in Construction.
Why should young people go into construction?
Project Management provides a unique opportunity to see and understand different organisations, whilst also managing different personalities within the Client, Consultant, Contractor and Stakeholder teams. As such, the work is varied, the rewards significant and the learning opportunities constant throughout your career.
It would not be unreasonable to say that Women within the Construction Industry are currently underrepresented, however, this does not mean that opportunities do not exist. The skill set required to be a Consultant Project Manager is certainly something to which women can be extremely well suited and, as such, there are numerous opportunities within the industry.
Construction offers an extremely varied career path, and if you are prepared to work hard, engage and develop there are many opportunities available both in the UK and overseas.
What are your views on the Hot Topics in Construction?
There are numerous hot topics within the Industry, some of which have been under discussion for some time. In my opinion, BIM has the opportunity to revolutionise the way in which the whole Industry works and to ultimately save Clients and Project Teams time and money, however, it needs to be fully and wholeheartedly embraced by all parties to remove the barriers which are currently preventing it from being as successful and beneficial as it has the potential to be.
Discussion around a lack of skilled Labourers has been in the Press for some time, however, in recent months, skills shortages in the Consultancy market have become more and more apparent. The recession seems to have stymied the recruitment of trainees and graduates, which now means that there is an urgent need to train and educate people to deliver key consultancy services such as Project and Cost Management.
What are your aspirations for the future?
I hope to continue to learn from others and develop my career, with an aspiration to become a Director of the business, managing a team of people and working with Clients to allow them to achieve their goals and to share these with their local community.