Claudia Farmer

Commercial Trainee

This should lead to a job as a Quantity Surveyor or Project Manager.

Currently studying

Level 3 National Certificate in Construction – 1 day a week alongside traineeship

My role day to day

I spend a lot of time on site, mostly working with quantity surveyors to price up projects and doing the occasional tea run! Some of my daily actives include measuring up and valuation of packages and subcontractors work, the compiling of contracts and agreements with subcontractors, site progression photos, issuing clear up notices to subcontractors and preparation of payment invoices.

Recent projects

Every project is so different but I’ve just finished work on an office block and I’m really pleased with the job we did. This project team included those working on maintenance and electrical, logistics management, glass systems from overseas for the facade, general operatives looking after fixing and concrete work. I learnt that no skills should be underestimated – there were lots of tremendously skilled people involved.

What I like about my job

What I like the most about my job is that everyday is different and fast paced. You are met with problems and challenges you have to overcome, as well as improvements you need to make so that the job gets done. Even though the day may vary, the goal stays the same: to finish the job to the best possible quality, on time and on budget each time. It’s especially exciting to see that your own efforts contribute towards a team achievement. Wates is a very flexible company, so there are lots of options for individuals to progress in different ways.

What attracted me to the Construction industry

I always had a keen interest in design and how things function. I was always walking past construction sites in wonderment thinking about how they where able to get it all done – the complete process from the idea/conception to the actual building and actual physical workings of it all. I wanted to get involved myself! I have always been a practical person and an office job never appealed to me. That’s why, I guess, working in the construction industry was the place for me.

Challenges and surprises

I thought I’d be in the minority being a woman in the construction industry but that’s really starting to change. There are far more women coming through and that’s great.

My Top Tip

‘The right attitude’: take the initiative and explore different aspects of the industry. A positive, hardworking attitude and keen interest in construction will be noticed your employer/colleges or even prospective employer/colleges. They’ll see that you’re employable and, most importantly, easy to work with. You’ll not only gain experience but responsibility and this will help you to progress in whichever area of construction you decide to work.

Claudia Farmer

Educational background

  • GCSEs in English, Maths, Science, French, Double Art & Design
  • Level 2 BTEC in Construction


You need good numerical skills to do the sums and strong communication skills to work with subcontractors. Diplomacy helps because you have to understand and listen to contractors, as well as represent the company’s point of view.