Shadi Saba is an assistant site manager for Kier Construction, London, South & Strategic Projects. He has been working on a site in Botley, Hampshire to deliver a brand new, state-of-the-art secondary school.

Here, Shadi shares his journey into the construction industry, the projects he’s most proud of and what he values most about his job.

“Growing up in a family of engineers, construction is in my DNA. I spent most summers visiting construction sites, being shown around and able to ask questions to site teams as it truly fascinated me - from a young age, I always knew that I would end up working in construction.

I went to the University of Liverpool and studied civil engineering and throughout my degree realised I had become more interested in construction management rather than the technical side, so I got involved in the Liverpool Engineering Student Society and later became President of the club. I then pursued a Master of Science (MSc) in construction project management at the University of Manchester where I had the opportunity to learn more about construction and processes and programmes behind it.

While studying for my Masters, I attended a university careers fair and spoke with someone from Kier abouts its graduate development programme and how I could get involved. It sounded like the best I had come across and the rest, as they say, is history!

I joined Kier Construction in January 2020 and was assigned to the Deer Park School project. Within the first six months I was appointed logistics manager and Kier’s site quality lead. I also got involved in our social value initiatives to achieve Level 2 of the social value quality mark accreditation.

I was promoted to assistant site manager for Deer Park School and my day-to-day responsibilities including managing subcontractors onsite, leading quality onsite, liaising with the clients regarding our community engagement and the social value we are delivering in the local area, as well as ensuring everyone is working safely onsite.

In the past 18 months, I’ve worked hard driving technological innovations to prevent defects and health and safety risks for our project teams. I’ve also been involved in leading sustainability onsite, as the school resides near a site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC).

I love everything about what I do and you get so much tangible feedback. For example, I was appointed as Kier’s Quality Lead at Deer Park School as well as leading the Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) third visit, which led to a scoring of 45/50. What’s more, I’ve presented careers talks to students, it’s great to be able to share my story and hopefully inspire others to consider a career in construction.  

No two days are the same and that’s why I love my job because every day presents a new challenge and an opportunity to learn something new.

I can wholeheartedly say that Deer Park School will always have a special place in my heart, because it’s my first ever big project and I have been extremely fortunate to be surrounded by an amazing team that continue to support my development in the industry.

In my spare time, I enjoy moviemaking and directing – I have even shot a few movies for a few international competitions. In a sense, making movies is not that different to site management – the aim is to lead a team and talk to various companies to ensure you deliver a quality product on time and within budget.

Working in construction is a very rewarding job. We work together to create schools and hospitals that local communities will use for years to come. To anyone out there considering a career in construction, if you have the chance to get into it then you should. The beauty of construction is the flexibility it presents – you can enter as a trade and work your way up or you can go the university route.

The most important thing is to enjoy it and be ambitious. Regarding my ambitions for the future, I would like to eventually become part of the senior leadership team. I look up to my senior manager and take note of how they inspire the young generation and drive the business to new highs and that’s what makes me want to be a part of it.”

Find out more about a career in construction, here.