Lisa Denby is a site manager within our Regional Building Western & Wales business. She is currently working on Quayside House in Gloucester and here she talks about her journey into the construction industry, the projects she has worked on and what she has learnt from each project experience.

“When I was younger, my family and I would frequently drive into Gloucester, as we drove past rows of houses and different types of buildings, there was always one that stood out – on the city centre’s skyline– Gloucester cathedral.  

I thought  it was stunning, I still do and clearly, I am not the only one with over 300,000 people coming to see it every year. It’s a building that has stood the test of time, a focal point which is synonymous with the city of Gloucester. I was inspired by it and I knew from a young age that I wanted to construct other buildings within the city that would also become a part of its fascinating range of buildings.    

My dad has been hugely influential and supportive of my journey into the construction industry. He also works within it and when I was younger he used to come home and talk to us all over dinner about the tangible results he had delivered that day. His passion and pride was inspiring and it only spurred on my ambitions.

In year 11 of school, I was offered the chance to undertake an NVQ at college in construction and the built environment. From this point onwards, there was no turning back and I knew this was the career for me.

Building on my interest and desire to find out more about the industry, I undertook a two week work experience placement with Kier at Oakwood School – it was amazing;  the people, the project, I enjoyed it all and a few weeks later I joined Kier as a management trainee on its Sheffield Hallam degree.

Fast forward five years and I achieved a first-class honours degree in construction and the built environment. I couldn’t recommend the Kier degree programme highly enough, the earn as you learn has every benefit possible.

I feel so privileged that I have been able to fulfil my dreams and work on a number of high-profile projects in Gloucester. I was part of the team who delivered the award-winning Shire Hall and I am currently the site manager for Quayside House, which is a three-storey building with a GP Surgery, pharmacy  and office space, alongside a car park. We are delivering this for Gloucestershire County Council, it is a technically complex project and I am really enjoying the challenge.

I thrive working as part of a team and as a site manager I have to effectively manage a range of stakeholders each day. I take the responsibility of leading teams very seriously and I am conscious that I can often be one of the first person a new colleague, supply chain partner or visitor can meet when they come to site and I want everyone to feel welcome, included as well as understand all the safety guidance we have in place.

No two days are the same within construction, which is what I love. One moment I can be talking to the architect about a floor finish and the next, I can be with a groundworker examining  how deep the ducting needs to be installed in the ground. I thrive working as part of a team and you really cannot beat that feeling of going from an empty field or space to a first-class building.

I really want to show others what the construction industry has to offer and I currently sit on the Constructing Excellence South West Board as the chair for Generation for Change; which represents the young professional voice of the South West construction industry. Our current campaign of #constructingthefuture. You can listen to our podcasts on the last Friday of every month, where we interview industry professionals.

I am very keen to progress my career at Kier as I recognise it is a thriving, inclusive and supportive business. I want to run my own site next and eventually progress to project manager, and then contracts manager.  

A career in construction is hugely rewarding and I hope that one day the buildings I am working on will inspire others, just like Gloucester cathedral did for me.”    

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