Tell us about yourself
I started off doing a carpentry course at college when I was 16, but realised I wanted more than that, I wanted a management position. So I looked for an apprenticeship via an online trainee agency. They placed me with Baxall Construction three years ago. My first role was Site Technician for a new primary school, St George's in Broadstairs.
I passed my apprenticeship, and Baxall offered me a trainee role, so now I'm Trainee Site Manager at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve for the Discovery Centre project.
How many trainees does Baxall have?
There are five Academy trainees, and this year, we were awarded first place at Novus Bright Futures Student Challenge 2019 in Maidstone, getting through to the final in London against six other teams. We were really pleased.
What qualifications did you need to become one?
Five GCSEs including maths, English and science. I got a B-Tech in engineering.
Describe a typical day...
There is no typical day, they are all different, but I get up at 5.15am, out the door at 6am, and arrive by 7.30am.
I open up what we call Site Welfare. This means the portacabins that comprise our office, store, toilets, canteen, drying room (where people can get changed), and meeting room. I make a cup of tea, then it's onto the computer to check my emails. Myself and Matt (Fothergill, Senior Site Manager) organise all of the sub-contractors ('subbies') who start on site. This means inducting them, covering health and safety and site-specific rules. We need to ensure the work meets all the legal requirements and building regulations. We plan weeks and months in advance so we have a clear vision of the next stages of the project; quality management is always important. I finish at 5pm.
What's most challenging?
I find that trying to deal with my education and work load can be quite tough when there are deadlines to meet. Dealing with lots of people from various backgrounds and different abilities can also be challenging. Fortunately, Baxall is a great organisation to work for. What you do gets recognised and they are extremely helpful with my training.
What have been your greatest lessons so far?
I've grown up fast but in a good way. My role holds a lot of responsibility on and off site, and health and safety is extremely important in the workplace, so it’s peace of mind knowing everyone has left and finished work safely. I have also learnt to take risks and make decisions, but to calculate that risk first. I’m fortunate enough to have a great team around me to help discuss decisions calmly and confidently to decide what the best solution is.
Are you interested in wildlife?
I enjoy going for walks and taking photographs out in nature, both in the UK and abroad. I like to travel to other countries when I can.
What do you like about this project?
The Discovery Centre itself is interesting, and once we start building, it will go up quickly – as we are using modern methods of construction. The project is challenging and it's also in an extremely challenging environment.