Management Trainee at Willmott Dixon
Graduated in 2018
Steve Rowe studied Construction Management - BSc with us at BCU. Steve didn’t start his university journey until he was 30 years old with a young family. We chatted with Steve to see how his degree has transformed his outlook on work and enhanced his skill set since graduating.
What course did you choose to study and why?
I chose to study Construction Management as I had been working on construction projects as a labourer and became more interested in how the projects are planned and managed. I felt I would be happier working in a managerial role and learning more about the technical side of construction.
Why did you choose BCU?
When I started university, moving to a different city was not an option. Fortunately, BCU offered the course which enabled me to study without having to make too many changes. The course modules were delivered by construction professionals with real industry experience. It was great to be surrounded by such knowledgeable people!
When you started university, did you know what you wanted to do as a career?
By the time I started university, yes. I had left school 14 years earlier and spent a lot of time jumping from job to job. By the time I started my course, I had settled on my career choice and put all my effort into achieving my qualification.
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Was there a particular module that sparked an interest in a topic you’d never considered before?
In my final year there was a module called ‘Bid Strategy’ which placed us all into teams, working on a bid for a live construction project. The module gave me a real insight into all the pre-construction activities that take place before the construction team start on site. I enjoyed the challenge of looking at a project and deciding how to deliver the final product – in this case, a 26-storey, grade A office building with a construction cost of £80m.
What is your current job role?
After my course I started with Willmott Dixon Construction and am nearly half way through a 12 month training programme. During the programme, I complete placements in different departments all around the business. Currently I am working as a Quantity Surveyor on a £50m project and in 8 weeks I’ll be working with the mechanical and electrical supply chain partners. After that I’ll be undertaking placements with the engineering, pre-construction, business development, and central finance departments. I am due to be promoted to Assistant Build Manager on completion of the programme and will be based full time on a project.
What is the most challenging aspect of your current role?
Although moving around the company offers priceless experience and provides detailed understanding of the roles and responsibilities of people working in other departments, it can be difficult to leave a good team after having settled in and starting the process again in the new team. However, it has been a great way to meet everyone around the company and start building lasting relationships.
What main skill from your university days will you take with you through your life?
Being a university student comes with many challenges, especially with a young family. My degree was probably the toughest challenge I have ever attempted and the sense of achievement at the end of it all was massive. When I look back, I learned that I possessed the determination to get through it, I managed to overcome any obstacles and achieve a first class degree. My degree taught me the importance of perseverance and determination which are highly valuable skills.
How has your life changed since you have graduated?
In 2014, when I started my course I was on site at 7am each day ready for a day of physical exhaustion. By 6pm that night I would be on the train home covered in dust and sweat with a sore back and a longing to just sit down and not move. I felt I could do better in life and I wasn’t anywhere near reaching my potential.
Now I am a graduate, working in the site office on a £50m construction project. I get up early and look forward to getting into my brand new company car and driving to a job I enjoy. I am tested on a daily basis and feel fulfilled when I find solutions to problems and issues I wasn’t even aware of 4 years ago. I feel excited about work and happy that I can provide a good life for my family. I can now look forward to the rest of my working life.