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Women in construction profile

In our latest Knowledge Hub article, we profile Laura Smith – an Apprentice QS for Constructing West Midlands’ contractor partner, Interclass, who has recently been named as a Construction Awards of Excellence Finalist – Young Employee of the Year.

Laura joined Interclass in 2016, not long after leaving school, as an Admin Assistant in Interclass’ estimating department. Interclass quickly realised she had an interest in the commercial side of construction and following further conversations with colleagues, she expressed an interest in pursuing a career as a Quantity Surveyor.

To help meet her aspirations, Interclass assisted Laura with an application for the Chartered Surveyor Degree Apprenticeship at the University of Wolverhampton. Even before she officially enrolled on the course in September 2017, Laura had already started working alongside one of Interclass’ delivery teams gaining valuable experience and guidance to support the knowledge she would learn at University. Fast-forward to now and Laura is four years into her Degree Apprenticeship and is on track to graduate in 2022. Laura has also been instrumental in promoting mental health awareness as Interclass’ first Mental Health Champion.

David Jones, Finance Director at Interclass, says: “Anyone who speaks to Laura about her career to date, will quickly grasp her enthusiasm and dedication to both her career and the goals of the organisation. We are immensely proud to have such a positive and inspirational female role model within our organisation.”

Laura said: “Developing a career in the construction industry was never a consideration to me at a young age. After joining Interclass I found my passion for the industry and my apprenticeship has provided me with valuable knowledge and awareness which has not only allowed me to realise my love for quantity surveying and the potential to have a successful career in it, but also given me confidence and self-belief which I can apply to all aspects of my life.”

Laura has made impressive progress in her career to date and is well on track for her RICS chartership. Even though she still just under one year remaining of her apprenticeship, she has already taken on her own project for our Client, Midlands Foundation Partnership Trust (MPFT) in the role of commercial lead, taking ownership on all commercial aspects and reporting directly to our Construction Director and under the supervision of her mentor.

Laura’s day-to-day role includes providing valuable assistance to one of our Senior Quantity Surveyors, working on multiple projects simultaneously to manage the costs associated with a project and developing relationships with our clients and subcontractors to ensure projects are completed within budget.

Laura said: “The impact it has had on me is immeasurable, I have learnt so much about myself and have completely transformed as a person both inside and outside of work. From learning to communicate with different people and being exposed to a wide range of scenarios, I have developed relationships with clients and subcontractors and am able to settle final accounts over the phone and in meetings, something which I never thought I would be able to do prior to my apprenticeship. My greatest achievement to date is overcoming my own fears and insecurities to now having the responsibility and confidence to manage my own project before finishing my degree and being in a position where I can help and hopefully be an inspiration to others.”

Since July this year, Laura has started to display her leadership qualities, working closely with one of our newest apprentices to mentor them and provide the same guidance she has been given from her own mentors throughout her apprenticeship journey.

We asked her three things she loved most about working in construction;

  1. No two days are ever the same, and each project I work on surprises you with new challenges! I am constantly learning and developing my skills to improve my knowledge of the industry. I have been taught a variety of new skills which will help me tackle my own projects in the future.
  2. You’re always meeting new people! It’s been a pleasure so far to have met so many different characters who share their experiences and knowledge to help me through my studies and daily tasks. It makes me realise how worth my degree will be, to then be able to one day share my experience and knowledge with generations to come.
  3. The opportunities are never ending in this Industry. Interclass are continuously providing me with many opportunities to improve on my personal and professional development. I have grown as a person throughout the 6 years of being in employment with Interclass, and have learnt so much already! I look forward to seeing what the future holds at Interclass.

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