Ciara Shaugnessy, Trainee Quantity Surveyor
What discipline are you currently working in?
I am currently working in the Manchester Regional Office, helping the Commercial Manager with the preparation and distribution of contract documents, agreements and warranties.
What are you studying?
I am studying an accelerated BSc in Quantity Surveying – meaning I study one day a week, every week throughout the year as opposed to having a summer break, this allows me to complete the day-release course in a reduced timeframe. As part of my course I am working towards chartership, which requires me to complete my assessment of professional competence.
How did you hear about the opportunity at Sir Robert McAlpine?
After finishing my first degree in Forensic Anthropology, I was offered the role of receptionist at Chapel Wharf, Salford. I had no prior experience of construction and wasn’t sure the career path I wanted to take – after working on site for around 6 months I started to take an interest in the commercial aspect of construction and had a conversation regarding any opportunities.
What subjects did you take at school / A-level?
Aside from the compulsory GCSE options, I selected Art & Design, Technology and History. In terms of A-Levels, I took Biology, Politics, Environmental Studies and General Studies.
Prior to working at Sir Robert McAlpine, do you have any other work experience?
I had no prior experience in construction – however, whilst I attended sixth form I obtained work experience in a retail store as a cashier and throughout my time at University I worked through the summer breaks in various sales roles, along with some promotional work for a music brand.
Tell us about your role
My current role is slightly different to other student Quantity Surveyors as I am involved in the preparation of contract documents, I have had a great insight into the legal aspects of procurement and what is involved in securing a contract.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Each day is different – a lot of my role comes down to prioritising the most important documents to ensure they are executed correctly and on time. I expect this will change as I move away from contract documents and towards a more site-based role to expand my knowledge.
What does your future look like?
I have nearly completed my first year and I am hoping to come out with a first overall. In the near future I expect to get some more experience working on site, and also start working towards my chartership with The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
How to start your career in construction
We have a helpful guide for students, graduates and parents or guardians looking to learning more about starting a career in construction.