Case study

Graduate site manager — Josh Steadman

Josh explains how challenges and early responsibility have enabled him to progress quickly in his construction management role

How did you get your job in construction?

I found my site management job at Bellway through an online search, during my final year at university.

How relevant is your degree to your job as a graduate site manager?

I studied BSc Construction Management at Leeds Beckett University. My degree helped me gain a good deal of technical knowledge, however, applying it to the job at hand is very different.

I've learned as much on the job in 10 months as I did in three years at university. That's the nature of it though, managers with decades of experience are still learning.

What are your main work activities?

I am assisting in managing the construction of 170 new plots of houses and apartments. This involves managing sub-contractors, ordering materials and enforcing health and safety regulations on site.

I also ensure quality is achieved, liaising with NHBC and programming works.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy taking on responsibility and applying the theories I learned from university modules to real life situations.

Being part of a large project is also enjoyable, and it's very satisfying and rewarding seeing the physical results of my work. I love that there is much variation in the role too. You would think building so many houses, many of which are identical, would be repetitive, but in fact it's the opposite.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

My role initially, was to observe the day-to-day running and learn as much as I could by helping out with the simpler tasks.

However, this quickly progressed into me being a competent and dependable member of the management team with multiple critical responsibilities.

The career progression in this job is very linear, with my next step being assistant site manager, then site manager, followed by senior site manager and so on. I'm not sure how far I will go in terms of promotion, but I have the goal of running my own site.

What are the challenging parts of construction management?

Often it's trade disputes with lots of people working in close proximity, all with different priorities. This can create friction, and it's my job to minimise it.

Another big challenge is the technical aspect of the build. Sometimes we receive drawings that won't work, and in those instances I speak to the relevant teams and people to find the solution and relay it to the subcontractors as fast as I can to reduce delays.

The positive side of these challenges is that you rapidly gain experience in overcoming them and so can progress quickly.

Any words of advice for someone who wants to get into this job?

  • Get stuck in. You learn so fast in this environment that the only real way to start is to dive in.
  • Take on responsibility. It's the best way to prove your competence and gain confidence in yourself.
  • Go for it. It can be a great career, both in terms of progression and financial reward, and in terms of satisfaction.

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