When did you join Careys, and in what role?
I joined Careys in May this year as a Senior Planning Engineer. I’m five months in so still finding my feet and so far, so good.
What project do you work on at the moment?
I work across a number of our projects including the waste management and water treatment plants in Invercannie, Craighead and Banchory. There is also the high-profile, security sensitive TFST RAF, Aberdeen Ness Energy and Alness School Phase 2 projects.
How did you decide on a career in construction?
I’ve always been interested in project management and appreciate how crucial the project planning phase is to the delivery of successful projects. After completing my degree in Project Management, I worked in oil and gas before deciding to upskill and explore other industries. I entered construction without much experience in the industry but had the transferable skills. I embraced and worked hard to overcome some initial setbacks and here I am today – I have never looked back. What I’ve learnt in my short time in the construction industry is that no two days are the same. All deliverables are very specific to a project which makes every project unique.
What are your day-to-day responsibilities?
Primarily, my role is to provide planning and scheduling support from pre-construction through to project delivery. So far, I’m mainly involved in the delivery side of things which includes progress updates, monitoring and controlling project performance against baselines and evaluating the impact of changes on project timelines with the team. I flag any delays and help mitigate and also take part in collaborative planning sessions to agree programmes etc. There’s lots of communication required in the role, both with the Careys’ project team and with the clients.
Is there a mentor(s) at Careys who has supported you in your career so far?
Yes, there’s been a few! Derek O'Neil was my buddy when I joined Careys and from the first time we met at interview he helped my confidence and made me believe in myself. I was used to different software packages and had never used ASTA (Careys’ main planning tool) but he was still very confident that I could do this job and helped me transition into the new role.
Careys' Planning community is very well set up with Planning Drop-in sessions which have provided direct support.
The wider planning community who share best practices have also helped with my learning curve and been a great help. Stephen Sharp (whom I took over from), among everyone I have met so far has aided me in one way or another in settling into my role in the Carey Way.
How do you think we can attract a more diverse workforce into our industry?
Diversity attracts diversity and by accepting and recognising minority groups we can make sure people don’t shy away from wanting to work with us. Communication tools like CareysConnect and LinkedIn among other mediums can be used to share stories because these can go a long way to attracting a more diverse workforce. Communication can be used to promote a place where people are valued and made to feel welcome.
Who do you think the most influential black person in history is?
There’s a few but I would probably go for Nelson Mandela. He stood for equality and social justice and had a very powerful connection with the people. Even among the many obstacles he was presented with, he remained resilient to his ideals on social imbalances.
Why is it important that we celebrate Black History Month?
I believe it’s important to celebrate every human regardless of race, colour, gender, religion or beliefs but Black History Month has created a safe space for dialogues around societal imbalances. This remind us that everyone equally contributes to society in so many ways and that everyone is valuable and plays an important role in the world.
What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a similar career?
I feel Planning is a really fulfilling role. It’s key in delivering successful projects and as a career it has a lot of prospects. For someone thinking about a similar career I would say they need to do three key things: keep focused, develop the right hard and soft skills, and aim to progress in the role. The motivation to embrace changes and add value is equally key. Once you can do these you should be successful as a planning engineer!
Finally, which of our four Group values resonates with you the most and why?
Like the Group banner, Care resonates the most with me. Five months down the line and I can feel the genuine care in conversations, in decisions and also in the way we win, manage and carefully deliver our works. It comes right from the top and is extended to our clients and supply chain as well.