Russell Sullivan

Production Trainee

This should lead to a job as a Project Manager or Junior Site Manager

My role day to day

My job involves fulfilling a business plan for a project. As a production trainee and future project manager, I work closely with quantity surveyors. We will usually kick off with a pre-start meeing where we discuss bidding for a job. At that point, surveyors will be more involved because budgets will be key. From day one of a project which we have won, I’ll be managing preparations for construction to happen. I have to ensure that a site is run like a business, gain the trust of the client and maintain an open and honest relationship throughout work. I’m usually the first port of call between the building team and the client’s design team.

Recent projects

My first project was work on a large Grade 1 listed mansion house. There were 120 people working on this site every day. My second project involved the exterior of a steel framed, modern primary school. This project was of a much smaller scale and very different from the first. It just goes to show the variety of work within construction.

What I like about my job

For me, part of the reward is working with the client, meeting with them on almost a daily basis, talking with them even before activities begin so that they feel fully involved and informed. I enjoy building relationships with people including clients and subcontractors.

I have a clear track to promotion and I’m working towards achieving my membership of the Chartered Institute of Building.

What attracted me to the Construction industry

I had been thinking of becoming an engineer but, after speaking to people within the industry, I decided that management was where I wanted to be so I moved from a degree in civil engineering to one in construction management. Members of my family work in construction and I knew that this was an area where you didn’t feel ‘tied down’. There was plenty of scope for development and variety across projects. I was hungry to learn about site management, so I took a summer placement with a house builder as a trainee site manager. I was given a certain level of responsibility to make my own decisions and choices. That experience really reinforced my decision to work in construction and I felt that I was now on the right track. I then realised that I wanted to work directly for a construction firm rather than for a developer or a consultant because I felt that I would have more influence over a build that way.

My Top Tip

  • Try to get work experience with a construction company.
  • Maths and Physics are really important so try to keep your study options open. Design and IT are also very helpful.
  • Visit the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) website, www.ciob.org.uk to find out more about accreditation for construction work and consider full or part time eudcation. It is possible to combine part time courses with work with the support of an employer like Wates.

Russel Sullivan


Educational background

  • AVCA (equivalent to a double A-Level)
  • Degree in Construction Management

Skills
required

Communication and people skills, a head for management, organisation and presentation skills. Maths, Physics, Design and IT all come into my work.