This month I had a chat with Jamie, our Design Manager at North Quay. This local lad came to the project as a design technician as part of his March studies less than two years ago. At 22, he is young for this role and I was curious to find out how he had come to be working with Corinthian and how he has made such leaps in progress in a relatively short space of time.
When did you start working in this industry and what brought you here or drew you to this industry?
From a young age, I’ve always been fascinated by construction and the built environment but it was while studying for my A levels that I found my focus being drawn to architectural design through a Design and Technology project. This prompted me to study architecture at university, specifically looking at building performance and technical design. After completing my Part 1 Architecture degree at the Welsh School of Architecture, I sought a work placement at the North Quay project, as I lived in Carbis Bay at the time and I had been aware of the development as a resident of the area, and through reading about it in architectural journals. It wasn’t the orthodox route for a Part 1 graduate, but I wanted to be on a site and amongst the building of the architecture itself.
What qualifications do you have/need to achieve your aims?
Currently, I have a BSc degree in Architecture from the Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University. I was working towards my March degree but decided to pause my studies while I focus on pursuing my experience as a Design Manager here at North Quay.
Tell us about someone who has inspired you.
I was inspired by the people I worked with when I first started here as a Design Technician, particularly the previous Design Manager. He had a wealth of technical knowledge which I was impressed by, and I admired his ethos with regards to construction and design. I was also inspired by the Project Director as he had come to the role via a similar route that I was on and that opened my eyes to what prospects were possible for myself that I hadn’t considered before.
Would you like to be a role model/mentor to other young people coming into the industry in the future?
I kind of feel that I am a mentor already in some respects, I think that everyone works together and shares ideas and experience or knowledge and I’m constantly learning.
What is one thing most people mistakenly think about the construction industry?
That construction isn’t simply about being a ‘builder’, it takes a lot of different trades and professions to bring a design off the page and into reality. There’s a wealth of opportunities in this industry, from design roles to project or site management, which I hadn’t previously fully understood coming from an architectural world.
In your opinion, what is the most challenging aspect of your role?
I think the most challenging aspect is the scope of the role. I have to know about architecture but also know about engineering, landscaping… it’s so broad. Some days I’m in meetings with ‘suits’ and other days I’m on-site in full PPE.
Why do you get up in the morning and come to work? What motivates you daily?
I’m probably driven by the challenge and what this project will eventually become… it’s going to have a significant positive impact on the town as an extension of Hayle and it’s exciting to be part of that. I hope to come back in years to come and be able to say that I was part of the team that created this place.
What does an average day look like?
An average day can range from chairing meetings, reviewing designs and drawings, being out on-site reviewing progress, and checking details. I have a sharp eye for detail and enjoy making sure things have been done correctly. I’m always considering what can be improved and if any lessons can be learned.
What’s your favourite part of the job?
I enjoy watching the designs become a reality. I remember what it was like when the first houses to be completed on the development were finally being lived in, and it was quite weird at first. I have known the buildings through most stages of their ‘life’, now I drive past and can see lights on and people enjoying their home and that feels good.
What are your long-term goals?
That depends on what opportunities come my way. In the future I would like to continue with my March degree alongside working as a design manager, perhaps I’ll look into studying a post-graduate degree in design management and gain an MDA (Masters in Design Administrations). While I’m young, I wouldn’t rule out travel and maybe work on some major international infrastructure projects. I would like to develop my ‘soft’ skills as well, to help me become a better all-around manager.
What would be your advice to other young people thinking about joining the construction industry, from a similar background to yourself?
I would say, don’t limit yourself to sticking to a classic architectural route. I wouldn’t have thought of design management before working on a construction site and this wasn’t something that was encouraged as an option at university. Since I left Uni, it is now being offered as a post-graduate course in its own right. You would be surprised how many varied and interesting roles there are within the industry.