Nicola has 22 years’ experience in the construction industry and work winning environment. She lives in rural Bedfordshire with her husband, her ex-race horse, two dogs and an attack cat. She has worked for Kier for almost 8 years.
Nicola is a bid manager for Kier Infrastructure, Nicola writes compelling written content, produces graphics to support responses and edits and formats her teams’ bids. This has led to an impressive track record in work winning, that has seen her involvement in some of Kier’s most complex infrastructure projects. Thames Water Amp7 Framework (£2.6bn), Luton DART (£117m) and Sellafield SRP (£60m) are just a handful of examples of projects that Nicola directly contributed to. Critical to the business plan, these wins have enabled Kier Infrastructure to achieve continued business success and growth.
“I didn’t follow the traditional route of gaining a degree. I left school at 17 after getting my A-Levels and I took time out to work as a polo groom. I loved the social side of the job, but it didn’t pay well (£35 a week to be precise!) This encouraged me to enrol in Secretarial College and become a personal assistant.
This gave me a great foundation for the level of organisation and time management needed to successfully write and manage pre-qualification documents and tenders. It took me many years to become polished in the art of writing and this comes from learning how to be part investigative journalist (interviewing and evidence gathering) and part reporter (writing persuasive content).
Everyone else’s job in Kier relies on us winning new work and this can bring with it an immense sense of responsibility and pressure. The constant deadlines can, at times, be stressful, but equally just as rewarding. I get the biggest buzz when we win a contract that I know secures the future of our colleagues, it makes all the hours of wordsmithing so worthwhile.
Being a writer is a skill that is recognised in the construction industry as an essential part of winning new work. Permanent writers now form an intrinsic part of most Tier 1 contractor work winning teams. What I love about writing is that its non-discriminatory. The fact that I’m a woman doesn’t come across in what goes down on the page and I’ve earned my stripes fair and square through my win rates.
I have always believed in my own abilities, but I have never been interested in taking centre stage or in self-promotion. I’m one of those people that gets so much more satisfaction from staying behind the scenes and making sure the production goes as planned. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, every business needs ‘doers’ and I know that’s where my strengths come into their own. I guess that’s the nice thing about writing and producing bids, the results speak for themselves.
I have always found Kier to be an exceptional and fully inclusive business to work for. Working here has given me the flexibility, support and encouragement I’ve needed to succeed and also maintain a healthy work-life-balance. Within Infrastructure, we all care about each other, we take the rough with the smooth and help each other to solve problems and continuously improve, it’s why I have chosen to stay with Kier for so long.”