Taher smiles and looks into the camera

Taher Shekhelarab

Construction Project Management MSc

Taher left his comfortable environment and job in Dubai to develop his knowledge of the construction industry. His postgraduate study has provided him with a global outlook and the knowledge to make a new start and succeed in the UK.

“I worked in the construction industry for 13 years in Dubai, but I’ve always wanted to progress in my career. I knew I wanted a change and something that would challenge me, moving to a new country seemed like the perfect way to do that.

It was tough leaving my comfort zone in Dubai, I had a steady salary and a close circle of friends and family but sometimes it’s worth pushing yourself out of your comfort zone to achieve your goals. After 13 years, returning to university study was a challenge, so I’m proud of myself for achieving a Distinction, settling in a new country and securing a job as a Lead Planning Engineer.

I’ll be working on the pre-construction stage of the project, which is something I’ve never done before but that I’m really excited about. During the postgraduate course, we studied and practiced having oversight of a project, from initiation to completion, this taught me a lot about working in industry and the importance of each stage to complete a project on time, so I now understand the importance of the pre-construction stage.

Since starting my postgraduate degree, I’ve become much better at critical thinking and writing. I attended online workshops with the Centre for Academic Success to improve this, as it wasn’t something I’d done before. Part of my role will be writing reports and reaching a conclusion to better inform our choices within the company. Critical thinking has helped me weigh up positives and negatives and write a well-informed, convincing report. I’m grateful to BCU for equipping me with the skills that have allowed me to take a step up in my career.

On the course, some of the most interesting and useful modules to me focused on construction law. Learning about the risks and how measuring them and staying safe is important to the completion of the project was interesting to me, and something I hadn’t been taught before. This expanded my knowledge of construction issues in the UK and how they compare with my experience in Dubai. Where I worked before, safety wasn’t much of a priority, so it was really useful to learn about it in the UK, as it’s an important part of the industry and will be key in my new job.

The learning style was varied and I worked with lots of different people, including people from all over the world. This developed my communication skills and opened me up to a more global way of thinking. Putting yourself in the shoes of people from the construction industry in different countries is incredibly useful as in construction you will always be working with people of different nationalities.

Thanks to my master’s, I’m in demand. A company said that they invited me to interview because I have an MSc in Construction Project Management, and the breadth of knowledge on the course is something that they were looking for. I hope to work as a project manager in the next few years and the master’s degree has given me the confidence and skills to reach that goal.

When I see or hear ‘I am BCU’, I feel proud to be a part of a collaborative, international community that has supported me to meet my career goals.”