Noreen is Executive Director for Hollywood Associates, a consultancy based in Dubai, and was recently seconded onto the PMC for the Etihad Rail Project in Abu Dhabi as the Procurement and Tender Manager. She is currently on the CIOB Local Hub Committee for the Dubai region and was recently elected on to the CIOB’s Education, Qualification, Standards and Practice (ESQP) Board. Here she tells us what a difference it's made being an active member of the CIOB.
When did you first become involved with the CIOB and why?
My professional journey with the CIOB began in 2012. My husband was hugely instrumental in introducing me to the CIOB; telling me who they were, what they did and how it would ultimately benefit me in my career. This only piqued my curiosity further and I was enthused as to how I could be a part of that. I became MCIOB in June 2015.
For me, the institute exemplifies the benchmark of professionalism thus providing a foundation for career progression which has played a significant key role through my journey of lifelong learning. I attend and host CPD events in the UK, Ireland and throughout the Middle East and in doing so, network with professional, high-calibre and likeminded individuals.
Why did you become involved with the CIOB Local Hub Committee?
I was at the stage in my career where I wanted to give something back. By volunteering some of my time, I could take a proactive approach in achieving some of my personal and professional goals.
I was an active member of the CIOB Middle East (Qatar and Dubai) for two years before applying for and being successfully elected onto the Local Hub Committee for Dubai. I did this because I believed, and still continue to, in what the CIOB stands for. I desperately wanted to be a part of the bigger picture, to be an advocate in continuing their work, especially on a local (international) level.
What difference has being a part of the CIOB Committee made to you?
As the International Alumni Ambassador for the University of Ulster, my passion is education, to work with and mentor students considering a degree in construction. Being part of the Committee led to my appointment as the CIOB’s Educational Lead (Middle East). This role was primarily to ensure CIOB accreditation of universities and / or construction-related courses being delivered and to get local universities to sign up to the CIOB’s Global Student Challenge.
However, this role created a path directly to the podiums of local universities and having face-to-face interaction with the students, which led to a 63% increase over the last year in student members joining the CIOB. By presenting to the students, I could go through an informal election process and choose the respective Novus Champion within each of those universities.
Aside from being hugely rewarding to give something back, ultimately my aim was to ensure that the particular student (Novus Champion) could then demonstrate experience and working with teams on their CV. This would assist the newly-developing Novus Team in Dubai and by doing so, created the opportunity for those young students to come to our CPD events, introduce them to more experienced professionals and thus begin their own networking journey.
Being a part of the Committee, in many respects, ensured I could continue to fulfil one of my career objectives to work directly with students starting out on their academic journey.
What have your best bits been during your time on the Committee?
There have been so many!
Through my contacts and professional relationships with local businesses and developers, I was able to set-up Novus’ first site visit at The Sustainable City, Dubai. In addition, with acquaintances at local universities, I then secured a free CPD venue for Novus, thereby bringing Novus / CIOB directly to the students.
My work continued to assist Novus and I was then subsequently elected as a MENA (Middle East and North Africa) Representative on the CIOB Members’ Forum. Members’ Forum was the pinnacle of all that I had achieved and worked for: my husband was awarded his FCIOB Certificate by the then-President, Rebecca Thompson. Cliché as it sounds, it was my own ‘wish list’ to meet Rebecca as she too is an advocate for conservation and sympathetic restoration of our built heritage. Ultimately, she epitomises women in leadership and everything that CIOB stands for.
Whilst there, I was truly honoured to have been elected onto the CIOB Education, Qualification, Standards and Practice Board (EQSP) and to have met the new CIOB President, Chris Soffe and so many key leaders.
Tell us more about being a part of an international hub and global organisation
Across the MENA region, we have several strong local Hubs which is really the collective and proactive input from professional members from a very diverse and eclectic background who actively want to make a difference.
In many respects, the Middle East has a transient workforce. That is why it is imperative to not only retain our current Members but to also attract and welcome new Members which is partly achieved through delivering great CPDs, events and services throughout the region. In fact, our Members have told us we are like a family; a network of people dedicated to assist and support individuals in their career progression and development. This ethos is paramount to the success of CIOB from an International perspective which only serves to contribute to the wider vision of CIOB globally.
Would you encourage others to get involved? Why?
Absolutely! Being a part of CIOB has many professional and personal rewards: it creates a sense of accomplishment, satisfaction and thus permits you as an individual to give something back to society, to really lead the way for tomorrow’s young construction professionals.
Experience has taught me that sometimes you have to put your best foot forward to get ahead and being on one of our Committees really opens the door to that.
To find out more about how you can get involved in your local hub committee, visit https://www.ciob.org/represent-your-profession-locally.