What’s it really like to work in construction? We speak to Jess Rooney, an Assistant Site Manager to find out how she got into the industry, what she does, and tips on working in her field.
Stories of Women in Construction: Jess Rooney
What do you do?
I work for Read Construction Holdings Ltd, as an Assistant Site Manager.
I have been responsible for setting up the site welfare facility, which includes managing the site archives, monitoring deliveries, completing site safety inductions and implementing health and safety procedures.
What education route did you take from secondary school to where you are today?
I started off at an early age where the council gave me the opportunity to complete my secondary school work experience in the housing renewal department. This gave me a flavour for the industry and made me realise that I would like to pursue it as a career. Once I left secondary school, I studied for a BTEC in Construction in college. In order to expand my knowledge to more aspects of the built environment, I also attended a 2D AutoCAD course once a week.
After college, I went to Liverpool John Moores University and studied for a Building Survey degree. During the holiday breaks, I worked at a surveying firm in Liverpool to gain as much experience as possible. I have since completed my CITB SMSTS (Site Manager Safety Training Scheme), Construction Ambassadors course and attended a number of CPD training events at Read Construction.
Tell us a bit more about where you work and your role.
My role requires me to attend to progress meetings, and to liaise with the client we’re working for and all project parties, and to manage BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology) points. Another important aspect of my job is to work with the Community Benefits team at site level and to contribute to the Project Community Facebook page.
What is your favourite thing about your job?
What I like most is the team work that goes into a project; from the Site Manager, Quantity Surveyor to the site operatives – everyone works together to make the project a success.
What is the highlight of your day?
It’s great to see goals being achieved throughout the project, and the end result is definitely a highlight for me.
Where do you want your career to take you?
I am going to continue to attend courses and gain experience on projects as an Assistant Site Manager, and hopefully one day manage my own multi million pound project.
What would you say to someone thinking about a career in construction?
Construction is a very large and diverse industry, with thousands of job roles and career paths into the industry. If you’re unsure about what aspect you would like to focus on, I would recommend starting off with a general BTEC in Construction as I did once I had left school. This will give you a flavour for the different elements of the industry, which you could then help you to go on to university and study for a more specialised degree.
Ultimately, the best advice I could give is to take any opportunity you’re presented with, and to go on courses throughout your education and employment. Attend additional courses to expand your skills and take any opportunity you may have to go on work experience. You never stop learning in the construction industry with more and more new technologies being used, so gaining the experience now will help give you a step up on the career ladder into construction in the future.