My Journey into the Industry: from a love of interior design to quantity surveying

1 year ago

Julia Grenville is a new graduate quantity surveyor within our North & Scotland construction business. 

Here, Julia reveals her journey into the construction industry.

“I have always been organised, focused and driven, yet I struggled to know what industry to utilise my skills.

As a teenager, I remember cutting out small pictures of buildings, structures, and interior design solutions that inspired my imagination. I would often think about the logistics behind these pictures;  how many people were responsible for the creation of these structures, what jobs did they do and how long do these places take to create.

Rather than just think about all of this, I started to do some research. I was amazed by the range in prices, costs and complexities of these projects. And the more I researched the more I thought the construction industry fed into my love of the built environment.

I also had a passion for maths, management and finance.  and I started to realise there was a job that incorporated all of these - quantity surveying!

I received annual awards for my academic achievements (Deputy Principal Award 2017-2018, 2018-19, Hays Price 2019-20), in my third year I was also recognised as the best performing female quantity surveying student to represent the university at the 2020 Women in Property awards competition.As a result, four years ago, I was privileged to be accepted onto a quantity surveying course at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. I love it, from the very first construction technology class right through to the final exam and my excitement for working in this industry only grew and grew.  

I also volunteered to represent students as a School Officer (student representative of the department), where I had the role monitoring and helping to maintain quality of teaching, student experience and increase the visibility of the department. Apart from traditional essays, take offs and other reports I have been able to create a few Revit (Building Information Modelling software) models as part of the learning process.

For me, the joy of working in the construction industry comes from the daily diversity you get to experience. No day is the same. Many different talented people need to come together in order to deliver a project to the desired quality, timescale and budget. Through the power of multi-disciplinary collaboration, we can achieve so much.  

Sadly, due to COVID-19 my work experience opportunities have been significantly reduced, nevertheless I have had the opportunity to work alongside Faithful+Gould and Reid Mitchell and I know I will have plenty of opportunities in the future.

In September 2020, I applied for graduate quantity surveyor role within Kier. Following successful online assessments, telephone interviews and a final assessment day, I was offered the job.

Now, as I have officially completed all my university assignments, I am thrilled to be building my experience and continuing my education alongside Kier. I will be supporting the commercial team on several projects from the Glasgow office, under the leadership of Paul McAdam. Paul is a Commercial Manager with over 20 years’ of experience in the industry and very calm and patient spirit.

I cannot wait to get established in my role, get to know the team and build my career. In the next few years, I am planning on getting chartered with RICS, I would like to get involved in projects promoting careers in construction to diverse audiences and apply sustainable, forward-thinking solutions in my day-to-day job.

It is now over a decade since the time of cutting out interior design pictures from the magazines. I still have them, but what is exciting now is that I get to contribute to the collective effort that allows them to be designed and built.”

To find out more about the graduate programme at Kier, click here.

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