Jay is training to be a construction site manager, learning and earning on the job. She gets a real buzz from seeing families move into homes she's helped build, and says everyone should consider getting into site management.
Name: Jay Lewis
Company: Linden Homes Western
What is your job? Trainee site manager
How long have you been doing this job? 3.5 years
1. What was your very first job?
My very first job was as a housekeeper at an elderly care home. I started there while I was still at school and was there for a year or so while I completed my studies.
2. What did you want to do when you were at school?
I was looking for jobs and wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do. So I started working in a care home for the elderly, whilst studying Health and Social Care at college. I then left the care home and started working at my local shop until I knew what I wanted to do.
3. How did you find out about the industry?
I didn’t know too much about the construction industry, even when I applied for the job! It looked like a fast-paced environment as well as being something different and interesting that I could learn about.
4. How did you get there?
5. What is a typical day like?
I get into work and I put my protective equipment on, carry out any site safety inductions if required. I then go for a walk around site to see who is working where and what they’re doing. I also carry out a site safety check during my site walk, making sure that everyone is okay and understands their tasks and responsibilities.
6. What’s the best thing about your job?
There are two; the first is a sense of belonging to a team. The second is the buzz and excitement when people move into their new home, knowing that you have been part of making it happen.
7. What is the most challenging thing about your job?
At times, managing contractors to ensure we are all working towards the same goals, timeframes and actions can be a challenge. But luckily, as we have good relationships across the board with our suppliers, we work together to overcome any differences.
8. What advice do you have for people who want to do what you do?
I would encourage anyone to go into site management. The personal qualities you need are a strong attitude, personable and most importantly a good sense of humour! You should also be willing to study to complete the relevant qualifications which will help you understand the working drawings, technical building standards and specifications.
I don’t think any work experience can prepare you for this role. One of the most challenging parts of the job is going out alone for the first time and having to explain to a contractor why they can’t do something or why it’s unsafe.
9. What things do you wish you’d known before starting your career?
I wish I’d known how exciting and rewarding the job could be and I would have got into the industry sooner!
10. Where would you like to be in 5 years?
In five years, I would like to have completed my qualifications and been a successful assistant site manager with a view to running my own site.
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