Journey So Far – Lauren Stewart (Assistant Project Manager)

We spoke to Lauren Stewart, Assistant Project Manager in Ward Williams Associate’s Manchester Office. Having just completed her first year with WWA, Lauren gave us some insights into her route into the construction industry and how she is finding her feet.

How did you get into the Construction Industry?

My journey into the industry was very chaotic! I left the sixth form with an AS level in Dance. I had no idea of what I wanted to do, so I looked into College courses but nothing grabbed my attention. Several months later I received information through the post from one of the local colleges and there was a choice to be made: Hair and Beauty or Plastering.

I enrolled in the plastering course and attended for around 18 months. My tutor suggested I transfer to a more academic course: Construction and the Built Environment so I spent two further years studying at College and achieved a BTEC Level 3. Now for university!

Leeds Beckett was my choice of University and I started learning about Civil Engineering and just knew this was not for me. I looked at Project Management, as this was always something that had stood out to me. I met with the PM Lead and enrolled in the four-year sandwich course.

I graduated with honours in 2019 and went on to gain a Masters degree in Quantity Surveying in December 2021.

What attracted you to joining the construction industry?

As weird as it sounds, I just could not stop obsessing over new developments. I observed the construction of a new school from the very start to the end, which motivated me and provided future goals. I just knew I could help build something one day.

What is your typical day in your role with WWA? What type of work do you do on a daily basis?

I assist the Project Managers across our offices on various projects in the UK. Tasks can vary but include managing programmes, providing Clients with information on project(s) progress, scheduling and attending design team meetings and in some cases I lead the meetings! I have also provided Employers Agent services on projects, ensuring valuations are conducted and I have issued my first Practical Completion certificate!

As part of WWA’s commitment to putting back a minimum of 1% of annual turnover into our local communities I recently spent a day working with Mustard Tree in Manchester. I was collecting furniture for re-use with my colleague, it was so rewarding.

I can honestly say every day is different and exciting.

What skills/lessons have you learnt since joining WWA?

There are so many to list but the most important three for me are:

1 Time management

2 Communication

3 Always ask questions

What do you think is the best part of your role?

I think the best part of my role is being able to live my passion, I feel lucky to be able to say that I have a job that I have always wanted.

What is your proudest achievement so far?

My proudest achievement is gaining a Masters Degree in Quantity Surveying with First Class Honours.

Is working in construction what you thought it would be?

It is and way more! There is so much going on but it always keeps you on your toes, and every single day is a school day. Endless amounts of learning to be done!

Do you have any advice for someone looking to start a career in construction?

Before you jump into anything, do your research and make sure the path you choose is what you want to do long term. If others are pushing you to do something you know in your heart you don’t want to do, take a step back and think it all through.

What are your plans for continuing your career in construction?

I plan to continue my career progression as an Assistant PM and the next step is to achieve my APC!

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