Laura McKenna is an assistant quantity surveyor within our Regional Building North & Scotland business. Based in Scotland, Laura is currently working on the projects we deliver through Frameworks Scotland 2 &3.
Here, Laura discusses her journey into the industry and the important message she wants to share with others.
“I want to say to others, your school exam results don’t define you, success can be achieved in different ways and at different times.
In 2017, I was in my final year at school. I was disappointed and deflated as I hadn’t achieved the grades required to study maths at one of Scotland’s top universities. It forced me to consider my options and look at different courses, universities and career options.
I decided to order prospectus’ for all the universities within a close proximity of where I lived. I came across a quantity surveying course at Caledonian University. I didn’t really know what it was but it sparked an interest and I decided to do some more research. What I discovered was that it had a lot of maths and numeracy within it (which remained a real passion of mine) as well as hands-on learning at a construction site.
This sounded like it could be the course for me, however I learnt that the grades I was awarded at school meant I couldn’t go straight to university, instead I would need to do a higher national diploma (HND) first. I wasn’t averse to this, instead I saw it as an opportunity to learn and explore and see if this really would suit my skills.
I enrolled at the City of Glasgow college, loved it and two years on, I secured my place at Caledonian University.
Throughout my time at college, I had been working at McDonald’s, but I felt it was the right time to gain some experience within the industry I was hoping to work in. At the time, there were no vacancies for trainee or apprentice quantity surveyors, so again, I used my initiative and wrote and telephoned all of the major contractors, quantity surveyor firms and housebuilders explaining that I was progressing into my third year of university and looking for a role to go alongside my studies. Kier offered me the role of a quantity surveyor whilst completing my studies part-time at university.
Fast forward to now, I have one year of university left before graduating and I will have three years of experience working with a tier one contractor. Had I not discovered the pathway to university through college, I would not be in the position I am today and perhaps would be completing another degree that I had the grades for but was not as passionate about.
Quantity Surveying is the perfect role for someone who is willing to learn and is eager to involve themselves in an everchanging industry - no two days are ever the same! This role gives a vast insight into all other professions and trades within the construction industry and is a great starting point to learn about the different roles required to deliver a project.
Within Kier, quantity surveyors have a longstanding tradition of going far, so I am excited to see where I can go.
So, I say this to anyone who is finishing school soon, do not be defined by the results you get, there is a world of opportunity out there, explore it and discover a career that you are passionate about.”
Find out more about careers at Kier, here.