Making a Career of Construction
Rachael Groves, a newly appointed contracts manager with UK metal fabricator Ambar Kelly, explains why she loves her career in construction.
When it comes to careers, construction offers diversity as well as endless opportunities for development. For Rachael Groves, the opportunity to indulge a predilection for the "outdoorsy" and practice her social and people management skills have also been important pulls.
Q: How did you get into construction?
RG: My route to construction was a little unconventional to say the least. I studied geography at university and then journeyed into a real variety of jobs including teaching children with learning difficulties, being a dive master in Thailand and managing restaurants. These experiences equipped me with the people, management and interpersonal skills that I use in my current role, albeit in a different way.
I was able to deploy these skills – and learn new ones – when I took a purchase ledger role for a concrete frame contractor. I progressed quickly to the technical team and then joined Ambar Kelly as an estimator in September 2017.
Q: What did this role entail?
RG: In my first role as an estimator at Ambar Kelly I was tasked with pricing jobs and doing take off, assisting clients and keeping track of tenders. My job developed in many unexpected ways and I was really able to hone my strengths.
Q: What led you to your new role as a Contracts Manager?
RG: I had already begun assisting with the clients, but the key moment was being asked to be involved on the 1 Triton Square project. It was a complex job contractually so it meant all hands on deck.
I visited site every week throughout the duration of the year-long project. I was responsible for ensuring all correspondence was logged; I visited site a few times to meet people and solve problems. It was more operational and reactive in a way. I had a great time.
It really enabled me to form a solid relationship with the William Hare and Lendlease teams and I am now bumping into these people on new projects we have secured! It definitely helps move the project along as we all know each other.
In terms of why I moved to this role, I realised I needed more of a challenge. I am an outdoorsy person and wanted to be onsite meeting people and developing my management skills. As with all of us, I needed more responsibility as well.
From a skills point of view, at Ambar Kelly I’ve been able to learn AutoCAD on a basic level and have attained greater product knowledge. I have built relationships with site contacts in a way that is contributing to the growth of the company. We all work very closely to reach this common goal for everyone – and the business!
Q: What will you bring to this role?
GB: My colleague James Cousins is more senior than me and has lots of hands-on site experience. We really bounce off each other and each brings a different dimension to the job.
Q: Why do you enjoy construction?
RG: There is never a dull day. I do wish I’d got into the industry earlier. University isn’t the only option and apprenticeships in construction are a great pathway into the industry.
It’s a really exciting time to be working at Ambar Kelly too. There's lots of potential from a business perspective and I can’t wait to see what’s in store.
In terms of my future, I could see myself getting involved in other aspects of the business but we will see how it goes!