Kier Group

Kier Construction named preferred building contractor for Citizens Theatre redevelopment

Kier Construction has been confirmed as the preferred contractor to deliver the first stage of the Citizens Theatre’s £19.4 million redevelopment project in Glasgow following a competitive tender process.

In what will be the most comprehensive redevelopment of the Victorian building since it opened in 1878, the theatre will close in the summer and re-open in late 2020 with works due to commence on site in September.

Commenting on the appointment of Kier, Judith Kilvington, executive director of Citizens Theatre, said: “This appointment marks the next phase in our Redevelopment Project. Kier has a wealth of experience in delivering theatre and heritage projects and it’s hugely exciting to be welcoming them to the team, led by architects Bennetts Associates, to realise our vision for the Citizens Theatre.

“Kier will work alongside Citizens Theatre and our Design Team in achieving the Second Stage tender and will then go on to carry out the required building work to overhaul our Victorian home – alongside overseeing the demolition of our foyer and back offices to make way for a new wing, including a new studio theatre and learning spaces.

“Our new building has been redesigned to create level access for staff, participants and audiences members. When we re-open to the public they will easily be able to visit and view some of the best examples of theatre heritage in Europe.”

Brian McQuade, Kier Construction Scotland and North East managing director, said: “We’re delighted to restore, improve and protect the iconic Citizens Theatre.  This builds on our solid record of working on major heritage projects, including The Mackintosh Building at Glasgow School of Art, Edinburgh College of Art, Aberdeen Music Hall and most recently, The Burrell Collection.

“As with all the work we carry out, we will provide jobs for the local community by working with our supply chain to offer a range of diverse employment and training opportunities throughout this exciting project. “

The Category B listed building is owned by Glasgow City Council and leased to the Citizens Theatre Company for more than 70 years.

Over the next two years the company will produce shows and provide learning activity at Tramway, Scotland Street School Museum and other venues throughout Scotland and beyond.

The company has already successfully secured £17.8m in pledges towards the redevelopment project from Creative Scotland, Glasgow City Council, Heritage Lottery Fund, Scottish Government (Culture Budget, Regeneration Capital Grant Fund and Historic Environment Scotland), The Robertson Trust and a variety of other trusts and individuals. The theatre’s ‘We Are Citizens’ public fundraising campaign is inspiring, engaging, and encouraging others to help raise £1.6m for the building redevelopment.

The redevelopment project management team includes:

  • Project Manager tX-2 Project Management
  • Architects Bennetts Associates
  • Quantity Surveyors Turner & Townsend
  • Structural Engineers Struer Consulting
  • M&E Engineers and Environmental Consultants Max Fordham
  • Theatre Consultants Theatreplan
  • Conservation Consultant Theatre Search
  • Conservation ArchitectIan Parsons Architects
  • Acoustician Sandy Brown Associates
  • Fire Engineer Atelier Ten
  • Access Consultant ADAPT Access Services
  • BREEAM Consultant RSP
  • Interpretation Plan & Exhibition Design Consultants Studio SP and Making Stories

Blog: Building a sustainable future

Claire Tait

Clare Tait, an environmental advisor at Kier, discusses her route into construction and the hugely varied role that she carries out as a woman in the sector.

It’s hard to imagine that reviewing tree root protection plans or land remediation strategies as part of a construction job, but this is indeed part of my varied role as an environmental adviser at Kier.

I’ve always liked being outdoors and a week of office life during my high school work experience confirmed for me that I did not want an ordinary desk job. At university I picked Environmental Management because I had loved geography at school, but I wasn’t really sure what it would lead to.

I fancied working in the built environment and after I finished my degree I sent my CV off to many companies. Kier Construction Scotland responded to invite me for an interview and I was offered a permanent position which included being part of the Group’s three year graduate scheme. Since then, I haven’t looked back.

Joining the construction industry has certainly given me more than I bargained for! As part of Kier’s graduate scheme, I’ve been able to experience working in other areas of the Group and I’ve also learned new skills, such as undertaking dormouse and newt surveys. I’ve taken part in professional development courses designed to grow and retain future talent to the business, plus I’ve been lucky enough to work with local charities and Third Sector Organisations, such as Community Wood Recycling which collects and reuses wood waste in environmentally-friendly ways.

What’s more, Kier has paid for my professional training at the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment where I recently passed my Practitioner Exam and can now start working towards becoming fully chartered.

My day to day role involves making sure that every project has a sound environmental plan in place. I cover the whole of Scotland and the north east of England, from Middlesbrough to the Orkney Islands.

During the project pre-construction phase, I review client site investigations and ecological surveys. I also advise on mitigation measures, waste minimisation techniques, silt management, and help implement site-specific environmental plans. These can range from assisting with remediation strategies to looking for biodiversity enhancements. Once we are in the construction phase, I regularly inspect our sites to ensure we are compliant.

The construction industry is at a great place where sustainability is becoming increasingly important to clients and its end user. Kier has various targets to reduce energy consumption, waste and water and to enhance the environment surrounding the projects in which we build.

Being part of these new initiatives and involved in implementing best practice is one of the things that I love about my job. Every year we get to run an Environment Week where we have guest speakers, toolbox talks and workshops across the country to raise awareness on the environment. Next week I will be presenting at a Supply Chain Sustainability workshop discussing sustainability within construction.

I’m rarely in the office and the variety of work is both fun and constant. I’ve developed a children’s environment activity booklet which won two Green Apple Awards and have taken part in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) project with schools where pupils created an eco-hotel and presented at a Supply Chain Sustainability School workshop. No two days are ever the same, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

But I am one of the lucky ones who stumbled into this exciting career. Unfortunately, construction has a perception issue and most people think it is all about men wearing hard hats. It’s not. As a young female entering the industry, I have found it welcoming and rewarding.

The type of jobs on offer in construction are varied – from working outside on site, to managing ecology or health and safety, designing buildings, and even developing new materials. We need engineers, scientists, environmental managers, robotics specialists and craftspeople, to name just a few of the huge variety of opportunities in the sector. And the great thing is that there are so many ways to start a career in construction through apprenticeships, foundation degrees and graduate schemes.

We still have more work to do to change this misperception of women working in construction and to show them that construction provides limitless opportunities for women and young people and offers a rewarding and fulfilling career.

It’s something I hope to see communicated more within schools and via career advisors, and I am proud to be part of a company which is proactively addressing this. As part of their Shaping Your World initiative, Kier has pledged one percent of its workforce to act as school career ambassadors, working directly with schools to increase the profile of construction. I hope this helps young people open their eyes to the diverse and exciting world of work waiting for them.

  • Clare Tait is environmental advisor for Kier Construction Scotland

Kier Construction Scotland brings home a haul at Considerate Constructors Scheme Awards 

Kier Construction Scotland scooped four national accolades at this year’s Considerate Constructors Scheme annual awards – all for projects based in Scotland.

The ceremony, which recognises the UK’s most considerate sites for the contribution they have made towards improving the image of construction, took place at The Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh on Monday.

Kier Construction Scotland was honoured with three silver awards for its state-of-the-art education campuses at Ayr Academy, Marr College and William McIlvanney Campus.

Kier also took home a bronze award in recognition of its work in refurbishing Edinburgh College of Art.

All of the projects were praised for the measures put in place that allowed the sites to be more considerate towards the public, the workforce, local neighbours and the environment.

Brian McQuade, managing director of Kier Construction Scotland and north east England, said: “It’s important that we maintain the highest standards of site management across all of our projects and make a positive contribution to the communities we work in, so we are proud to be recognised with four national awards.

“These awards reflect the hard work that our team and partners put into ensuring we are as considerate and integrated as possible in every area that we build in.”

Construction output continues to slip

Construction output in the UK has continued its recent decline with February Office for National Statistics figures showing that the sector suffered a 1.6 per cent month-on-month fall, and compared with February 2017, construction output fell 3.0 per cent; the biggest month-on-year fall since March 2013.

The three-month on three-month decrease in construction output was driven predominantly by the continued decline in repair and maintenance work, which fell by 2.6 per cent in February.

The construction output decrease in the month-on-month series, contracting by 1.6 per cent in February, stemmed from a 9.4 per cent decrease in infrastructure new work.

The ONS also said it had received some anecdotal information from a small number of its survey respondents regarding the effect of the snow on their businesses in the final week of February 2018.

It said the adverse weather conditions across Great Britain could have potentially contributed to the decline in construction output, although it is difficult to quantify the exact impact on the industry.

Allan Callaghan, managing director of Cruden Building, said: “While I’m glad to report that Cruden is bucking market trends and performing strongly, it’s true to say that right now is a tough time forconstruction.

“With less than a year to go until Brexit, the twin pressures of rising material costs and a decreasing workforce are only being exacerbated. Although Cruden and many others in the Scottish construction industry have been working to plug the current skills gaps for some time, the spectre of Brexit is casting a shadow of uncertainty over what it will mean for materials costs and the ability to retain skilled labour.

“We need decisive action from Government to secure trade and labour agreements that will support the construction industry in delivering on Scotland’s housebuilding and wider infrastructure targets.”

Gordon Reidregional business development manager, Kier Construction Scotland, said: “These figures reflect ongoing challenges for the industry and output has been down for a long while. However, in contrast, Kier has recently announced a solid set of half-year financial results where we have grown our business, expanded our order book and secured a robust pipeline of activity.

“Heritage is a particular growth sector for Kier Construction Scotland. We have just been appointed as the contractor to support Glasgow Life in their refurbishment of The Burrell Collection.  Returning iconic buildings to their former glory is hugely rewarding and provides plenty of opportunities to attract a diverse range of new talent to the industry. We will continue to focus on showcasing the breadth of career opportunities that the construction industry has to offer, and highlight the significant boost that our sector delivers to the Scottish economy.”

hub South West partnership with East Ayrshire Council and Kier Construction hands over £45m Kilmarnock Campus

hub South West, the construction and infrastructure-focused partnership which works with local authorities and private sector enterprises in Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway, has handed over the £45 million William McIlvanney Campus in Kilmarnock to East Ayrshire Council.

The campus – named for the Scottish novelist, who was born in Kilmarnock and started out as a teacher – represents an amalgamation of Kilmarnock Academy and James Hamilton Academy into one campus, along with Silverwood Primary, New Farm Primary and the Early Childhood Centre.

The main contractor was leading property, residential and services group, Kier Construction, and the architect was NORR, the UK arm of the global NORR practice, with support from Edinburgh-based landscape architects Rankin Fraser.

Work on the project started in March 2016, and Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, unveiled the foundation stone in October 2016. £24.5 of funding, representing more than half of the total value of the project, was provided by the Scottish Government.

The campus will accommodate 1,465 secondary and 383 primary school pupils, as well as 80 morning and 80 afternoon early years’ pupils. A centre of excellence for Gaelic language development will be based at the campus.

Local businesses enrol in hub South West’s eighth Building for Growth Programme

Gordon Hunter

hub South West’s eighth Building for Growth programme is now underway with more local businesses signed up in expectation of winning new work from Scotland’s Tier 1 contractors.

The bespoke business development initiative is open to any company looking to grow in a sustainable manner by building the skills and internal capacity to take on increasing volumes of business and, as a result could win new work from participating contactors.

The Building for Growth programme, aimed at ambitious businesses in construction and related sectors based in Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway, is run by hub South West, a public-private partnership of local authorities, NHS, blue light services and a clutch of leading construction industry Tier 1 contractors including Morrison, Graham, Morgan Sindall, Ashleigh and Kier.

The current programme, from which 62 local businesses have already graduated, got under way on 21 March and is scheduled to run through until early June. It comprises 8 half-day sessions (10.00am-2.00pm) over a period of 12 weeks. Throughout the spring 2018 session workshops will focus on topics such as smart tendering, innermetrix profiling, strategic growth and exit options, marketing planning, supplier development programmes, corporate social responsibility and pitching for business.

Gordon Hunter, hub South West’s supply chain manager, who manages the Building for Growth programme, said: “There are a lot of good businesses out there, but some have areas where they need to build capacity if they want to rise to the next level.

“For example, many are relying too heavily on the skills of one key person, some of the IT practices are not very efficient or robust, and marketing communications can vary from the sublime to the almost non-existent.

“A golden rule of the programme is ‘no competitors’, leaving participants free to discuss any business issues, challenges and opportunities in a safe and supportive environment with a like-minded group of business people.”

Gary Thorn, founder and MD of Cumbernauld-based Cube Glass, who won the Best final Presentation Award at the culmination of the seventh Building for Growth Programme in November last year, said: “I learned a great deal from this programme and I will be ever-grateful to hub South West for giving me the opportunity to participate.

“At first I thought it would be impossible for me to take eight half-days away from the business to attend but, in fact, taking time away from my day to day concerns gave me the opportunity to sit back and look at our long term development and to improve the chances of Cube Glass winning work from some of the Tier One contractors.”

Michael McBrearty, chief executive of hub South West, added: “Our aim is to help generate growth in the local economy through innovative methods of partnership working and procurement which also provide value for money solutions.

“Our Building for Growth programme has already delivered success to the leaders of its participating companies by both broadening and deepening their grasp of the factors needed to win more new, bigger contracts from Tier One contractors and we hope and trust that all of the participants in our eighth Building for Growth programme will follow in their footsteps.”

List of delegates

Company Location Sector
JD Scaffolding Bargeddie Scaffolding
Murray Landscapes Motherwell Landscape Contracting
Emtec Branding Cumbernauld Signage
VWS Cumbernauld CCTV/Alarms/Fire
Belac Eurocentral Utilities/ Construction
IG Contracts Stewarton Groundworks
Hire and Supplies Dumfries/ Oban Plant Hire
Catherinefield Windows Dumfries Window Manufacture
Cube Glass Cumbernauld Glass Partitions
CSP Acoustics Glasgow Acoustics Consultants
Dow Waste Management Cumbernauld Waste and Recycling
Atlas Business Interiors Dumfries Design, space planning, FFE
Naturally Compliant Glasgow Environmental CoW

 

Contractors support new course to encourage more females into construction

Infrastructure partnership hub South West is throwing its weight behind a new initiative which is aimed at encouraging greater female career participation in the construction sector.

In partnership with its main contracting partners – Kier, GRAHAM, Morrisons and Morgan Sindall – hub South West is supporting the Females into Construction course, facilitated by New College Lanarkshire.

The course, which has no formal entry requirements, will be open to 16 female S5 pupils, and provides a National 5 qualification in Construction Crafts. On completion, students can progress to pre-apprenticeships or progress onto a professional career route of higher national certificate level.

Michael McBrearty, chief executive of hub South West, said: “The course aims to encourage young females who are interested in a career in construction, while highlighting the varying career paths into the industry.

“Throughout the course, students will have the opportunity to visit sites managed by the supporting contractors, where they can observe a variety of construction roles in action.”

New College Lanarkshire, which recently was rated among the UK top three institutions for skills at WorldSkills UK, will run the course from April 30 to June 29 at its Motherwell Campus.

The course will include painting and decorating, masonry work, carpentry and joinery as well as visits to live construction sites, ambassador talks, visits to design offices at regional headquarters, CSCS specific safety training and work placements.

Students who are interested in pursuing a professional career path in construction may have the opportunity to join the college’s Built Environment or computer aided architectural design and technology.

Amanda Wright, social impact manager for Kier Construction Scotland, said: “We are delighted to support this important initiative. All of our sites are looking forward to sharing our knowledge and showcasing the wide range of diverse and very rewarding career opportunities that exist for women, both within Kier Construction Scotland, and throughout the construction industry.”

Morrison Construction community skills manager, Jim Johnstone, said: “We are proud to be part of this great initiative to help encourage more women into our industry and we are excited to showcase the wide variety of careers that are available in construction.

“Diversity in the workforce will only make our industry stronger as it encourages greater creativity and collaboration in the workplace.”

Stuart Parker, managing director of Morgan Sindall in Scotland, said: “We’re committed to promoting the construction industry and the rewarding careers it can to offer to all young people; but encouraging more female entrants to join the workforce is of particular importance.

“At Morgan Sindall, more than 18% of our personnel are women. That’s an increase from 10% two years ago and substantially higher than the national sector average of 12%. As an industry, there’s still work to be done.

“Close collaboration between businesses, schools and colleges is critical to effecting real change and we’re proud to be a key partner in hub South West’s initiative.”

Debbie Rutherford, regional community benefit advisor at GRAHAM Construction, said: “It’s fantastic to be involved with this course. We are very much looking forward to meeting the students and helping them throughout their journey.

“It’s important to us that young people, no matter their gender, are educated on the various routes to employment and are inspired and encouraged along the way.”

Kier Construction Scotland helps deliver ‘solid’ results for parent group

The ongoing success of Kier Construction Scotland has contributed to an underlying growth in both profits and revenue in the first half for its parent company Kier Group.

Announcing its results for the six month period ended 31 December 2017, Kier said it remains on course to deliver double-digit profit growth this year and hit its 2020 strategic targets, despite being hit by delayed project starts towards the end of last year.

The group reported an 8% increase in revenue to £2,154 million, while underlying operating profit of £60m was up 5%.

Kier Construction Scotland, which employs over 200 people from its offices including Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness, has maintained turnover stability at approximately £150m per annum and is gearing up for the future growth target of £200m by 2020.

Brian McQuade

Brian McQuade, managing director of Kier Construction Scotland, said: “Kier Construction Scotland has a robust pipeline of activity, thanks to a number of important framework and tender wins. We have secured a place on fourteen national frameworks across Scotland and this includes our most recent appointment as Tier One contractor to hub West, where we will deliver a range of public sector capital works projects throughout west central Scotland. We are also a principal supply chain partner under Frameworks Scotland 2 to build a £34.5m elective care facility at Golden Jubilee National Hospital in Clydebank.

“We have added to our strong education portfolio with a number of contract wins, including our appointment by the University of Edinburgh to carry out the £7.7m transformation of Murchison House into a dynamic, multi-functional teaching and study hub, and our appointment to the University of Strathclyde’s £250m Framework for Major Building Construction to support the delivery of its ongoing Capital Investment Plan.

“Our unique expertise in the heritage sector continues to flourish as we have been appointed as the contractor to support Glasgow Life in their £66m refurbishment of one of Scotland’s national treasures – The Burrell Collection.  This is an exciting addition to the work we are currently carrying out in this specialist area, including the restoration of the Mackintosh Building for Glasgow School of Art and the refurbishment of listed buildings at Edinburgh College of Art and Aberdeen Music Hall.

“While these fascinating projects bring the chance to attract new talent and hone expert skills, the sector is battling against a skills shortage, made worse by an outdated perception of the construction industry. To help combat this, Kier has pledged one percent of our workforce as part of our Shaping Your World campaign to act as school career ambassadors in a bid to highlight the breadth of diverse career opportunities in construction and the significant boost that the sector delivers to the economy.”

Kier’s Property division performed ahead of its 15% ROCE target while the Residential division’s return on capital is progressing towards its 15% target as the mixed tenure housing business matures.

Revenue in the Construction division decreased by 7%, mainly as a result of delays in the commencement of certain projects to the second half of the financial year. Although the Construction division’s margins declined from 2.0% to 1.8% during the period, principally as a result of the effects of the final costs of closing the Caribbean and Hong Kong businesses (£7.7m), Kier said it expects that margins will increase in the second half of the financial year.

Haydn Mursell, chief executive, said: “The Group is performing well. Our £9.5bn Construction and Services order book, combined with our £3.5bn pipeline in the Property and Residential divisions, provides good visibility of work over the medium term.

“The Group’s performance reflects the strength of our business model and our financial and operational disciplines. Our portfolio of businesses provides balance and resilience and our approach to risk management is evident in the margin performance we have delivered over many years. We remain on course to deliver double-digit profit growth in 2018 and to achieve our Vision 2020 strategic targets.”

Setting my ‘sites’ on a thriving career in construction

Amanda Byrne

From enrolling at Waterford Institute of Technology in Ireland to working on Edinburgh College of Art, site manager Amanda Byrne tells SCN how her journey has led to a rewarding career at Kier Construction Scotland.

People are always surprised when I tell them that I’m a construction site manager. ‘That’s not a job for a woman, surely?’ is usually the response I get. It just goes to show that appearances can be deceiving!

Growing up, I had my heart set on becoming a sports journalist. I was good at English, I liked travelling and played rugby and cricket at school, so it seemed like the perfect job.

By the time I finished school, the construction industry in Ireland was booming and I opened my mind to seriously thinking of a career in this industry. I enrolled in a four year Construction Management degree at Waterford Institute of Technology in the south of Ireland and my journey started from there.

During the summer breaks I worked for a large construction company, getting on-the-job experience of site management. I learned a huge amount and by the time I graduated, the firm took me on full time as an Assistant Site Manager.

I thrived in this environment – the fact that two days aren’t the same, working with different people, finding solutions to overcome daily challenges and the sheer satisfaction of seeing a building come out of the ground before your eyes, all adds up to a really rewarding job.

In 2003, I was ready for my next challenge and took up a position at Kier Construction Scotland. Since then I’ve been involved in several major construction projects and was promoted to Site Manager in 2007.

“I’m so glad that I was never put off considering a career in this fantastic industry which has rewarded me so much.”

Amanda Byrne

With Kier, I’ve had the privilege of working at some major projects at Edinburgh Airport, Fetes College, the Western General Hospital and now the Edinburgh College of Art, to name just a few.

I’ve never experienced any set-backs from being a woman in construction. I’m also lucky to have a great boss and together we make a fantastic double act!

There’s no doubt that there is still a perception that the construction industry is dirty, cold and that we generally dig things! It’s really not the case. Of course, I spend some of my time out of the office, patrolling the site, checking quality and safety, but equally I spend much of my time being office based and having briefings and meetings and working with a large team of tradespeople, architects and engineers. It’s a great feeling being part of a big team and I’ve developed a solid knowledge of so many aspects of construction.

Equally, there are loads of training and development opportunities within Kier. Soon I’m heading off to Edinburgh Zoo for an ecology day to learn more about protected species and plants – every day really is a school day!

Undoubtedly the construction industry is facing a skills shortage. It’s important that people begin to see past the traditional construction roles and consider the numerous careers available to young people, especially young women.

A recent report commissioned by Kier showed that 66% of teachers and careers advisors held negative views of the construction industry as a route for their students to pursue and 73% of parents wouldn’t want their children to even consider a career in the sector.

These findings make for shocking reading and I’m so glad that I was never put off considering a career in this fantastic industry which has rewarded me so much.

I’m really pleased Kier is working to change this perception and has pledged one percent of its workforce to act as career ambassadors in schools and colleges over the next 12 months engaging with the next generation of talent.

For my part, I’m currently working with Kier on a series of careers fairs throughout Scotland, raising the profile of construction and inspiring people to consider a role in this hugely rewarding and thriving sector. I’ve been working with high school pupils at careers fairs to try open their minds and help them consider that there are so many diverse roles within this industry – and very few of them involve digging!

Catch up with the rest of Scottish Construction Now’s International Women’s Day feature here.

Counting my blessings for my career in construction

Ashley Dunsmore

Kier Construction Scotland’s assistant quantity surveyor, Ashley Dunsmore, says she got the construction bug by watching ‘Megastructures’ and haggling at foreign markets.

I had absolutely no clue what a quantity surveyor was or did when I was at school. Throughout secondary school it’s fair to say that I wasn’t encouraged to consider a career in construction. At the annual careers fair, construction firms were nowhere to be seen. Instead, a job in the fire service, the police or as a beautician was all that was on offer.

None of these roles spoke to my inner geek. I loved watching the Discovery Channel and the programme ‘Megastructures’. When I was aged 14 and on holiday with my family, I took to haggling at the local markets like a duck to water.  My mum said I should think about a career as a quantity surveyor. And so my journey began…..

I ended up doing a four year, full-time quantity surveying degree at Glasgow Caledonian University. Girls were definitely in the minority, representing only ten percent of students on my course.

I did a placement during my third year for a contractor based in Dundee and I was offered a job there when I finished my university course. However, I wanted to keep working towards my professional qualification and when I found out about Kier’s graduate scheme, I knew that was the route I wanted to follow.

I was recruited to Kier’s three year graduate degree programme, along with around 150 other graduates and I’ve already completed two and a half years at Kier.

Working with Kier means Ashley can observe restoration projects like the Aberdeen Music Hall

The whole programme has really helped my career. It’s given me all the tools, mentoring support and experience I need to qualify for membership of the RICS Assessment of Professional Competence, and I hope to get my chartership later this year.

The graduate programme has given me a great mix of practical on-the-job experience, formal learning, first line management skills and professional development. I’ve had a great grounding in the business – spending my time on-site and in the office and I work on a variety of projects to give me a broad base to build my career.

I work at Kier Construction’s Aberdeen office and I’m currently leading an improvement programme at Aberdeen Fire Station north control room. I’ve also been able to see first-hand the major infrastructure projects that Kier is involved in, like the CrossRail project in London, the biggest engineering project in Europe, as well as complex restoration projects like the Aberdeen Music Hall and Glasgow School of Art.

“We need to see past traditional construction roles and open our minds to the numerous careers available to young women.”

Ashley Dunsmore

I’ve found that the construction sector offers a wealth of opportunities, with varied and interesting work across the industry and competitive benefits too. As well as typical construction roles, there are a host of architecture, engineering, surveying, project management and planning jobs to name just a few. I’ve always wanted to travel and hope that by working with an international company that has offices in the Middle East, Australia and Hong Kong, I’ll get the chance to do more of that. Kier is also putting me through a leadership programme which will give me another step up on the career ladder.

There is no doubt that the construction industry is facing a skills shortage and the sector certainly suffers from an image problem. We need to see past traditional construction roles and open our minds to the numerous careers available to young people, especially young women.

Kier recently became a member of The WISE Campaign (Women in Science and Engineering) and is working with them to motivate girls and women to study and build careers using science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). The mission is to get one million more women into the UK STEM workforce and to support them to help attract the next generation of talent.

I’m helping to play my part to encourage young people, especially girls into this fantastic sector. I’m currently working with Kier on a series of careers fairs throughout Scotland to raise the profile of construction and inspire people to consider a role in this hugely rewarding and thriving sector. The next time I ask a young person what they want to be when they grow up, I really hope l hear a few quantity surveyors thrown into the mix!

Catch up with the rest of Scottish Construction Now’s International Women’s Day feature here.