There have been two sides to my career journey to date. I have always been open and flexible in considering various career opportunities; however I have also been focused on achieving defining milestones along the way. This is demonstrated by the fact that I started as a graduate design manager for Balfour Beatty building schools in Birmingham and now find myself managing Procurement Delivery in Tarmac, the UK’s largest building materials business.
Along the way I have undertaken roles in Site Management, Supply Chain Management and even spent a year as a trainer – always open to the taking the next opportunity that would help me grow both personally and professionally. Despite my changing career, the one constant has been my drive to continually develop myself and, in particular, by my desire to gain full CIOB membership.
One of my proudest achievements is that I gained MCIOB at 25. When I left Loughborough University I knew that gaining my degree wasn’t the end and that gaining full CIOB membership was the next step in my career. I felt that getting chartered would give me stronger credibility and demonstrate my commitment to the industry. This was even more important when I was exploring different career paths, as being MCIOB provided me with the foundations to develop whilst giving any potential employers the reassurance that I had drive to succeed even where I lacked experience.
The year I became chartered was the year that Novus was being launched in the Midlands. As a young professional myself, I was approached to see if I would like to participate in the launch. I jumped at the chance. I really wanted to use my experience to support other young professionals and help shape the future of the CIOB.
Looking back, I wish Novus had been around when I was working towards my full membership. Although I was very supported by my graduate employer, I would have welcomed the Novus network and the links into the more experienced and inspiring members so I could learn and gain a wider industry viewpoint and different perspectives. Novus offers the opportunity for you to widen your network, and helps to avoid the risk of becoming institutionalised by the company you go into.
For me, the platform also helped build my confidence and this was reflected in the working environment. It was fantastic to speak up for the younger people and influence the CIOB work, which helped to expand the CIOB offering to support younger people and perspectives. Through this I felt empowered to become involved more in the Midlands. I became Chair of Novus, then Junior Vice Chair for the CIOB in the Midlands, then Vice Chair and eventually Chair of the Birmingham Hub in 2017. With every step I felt more confident and was fully prepared for my role– and this was also reflected in my professional career as I took steps to gain my masters in Construction Management during this time.
There is so much knowledge across our membership and we must work hard at harnessing it. Novus helps bridge the gap between the young professionals and our established professional members.
By being involved in the CIOB I have seen first-hand the strides taken to support the younger members. I’ve also had the chance to challenge the perceptions of the CIOB by giving new perspectives and encouraging greater diversity, inclusion and understanding. I believe more needs to be done to promote the variety and diversity of opportunities across our industry, breaking down perceptions that are often in place from a young age. It is essential we consider the diversity of people across the industry and how we can support them throughout all stages of their careers. One of the challenges I’ve seen is how we support the flexibility of career paths in our industry.
For me – addressing a sometimes considered ‘elephant in the room’ – a professional woman in my 30’s, if I choose to have children it is likely I will need to have some time away from my career. How can the CIOB support me during that time away from the industry so I continue to feel engaged and valued? How can we ensure people who choose to take time away from the industry, regardless of the reason why, can be supported and made to feel that they will be welcomed back with open arms so we do not lose their skills, knowledge and experience? The next step for me is to work to ensure the CIOB is a flexible organisation supporting people throughout all stages of their career and promoting it as the welcoming and exciting industry that it is.