Dream Big at Clarges Mayfair

By Hollie Bennett
Junior Manager with Laing O'Rourke at Clarges Mayfair

08 Mar 2017

When I was offered a role on Laing O’Rourke’s School & College Leaver programme, I felt so happy. It’s a massive stepping stone in my life and means that I get to work and study at the same time. I never thought I’d get to university – I’m the first one in my family to do it.

Through the School & College Leaver programme, I work at Clarges Mayfair four days a week and spend one day at London South Bank University studying for an HNC in Construction Management.

I’m part of the Health & Safety and Quality team on the Clarges development. I assist the managers and work on all kinds of things – fire safety signage, environment reports, monthly quality reports, quality audits, weekly safety meetings and updates to command and control boards. I also support workforce briefings, where we update subcontractors on the project, listen to any concerns they have and give out awards for team members. Plus, I have to submit my coursework – in fact I’ve got a bit of a deadline that I’m working to on that at the moment.

When I look back to where I was five years ago, I would never have imagined myself in the environment where I am now – in the professional world, working for a big company like Laing O’Rourke. Growing up, I made a few bad choices but after moving to London I changed my life completely. It’s definitely paid off. I’ve got a good job, a good future. I’ve got a lot more confidence in myself now. 

I like working in construction. People on site are very friendly and extremely supportive. I’m constantly asking questions. They could find that annoying but they seem to welcome the fact that I’m keen and want to learn. I’m like a sponge. I also go to them with queries about my coursework and they’re always helpful.

Being part of a team that creates buildings can feel incredible. My last project was the Francis Crick Institute in London, a biomedical research centre where they’ll be researching cures for cancer. To be part of creating that facility feels pretty special. I’m looking forward to walking around Clarges Mayfair when it’s finished and knowing that I helped make it happen. The apartments are going to be amazing.

I want to stay with Laing O’Rourke as long as I can. What I’m doing now will lead to a BSC Honours degree course in Construction Management later this year, funded by Laing O’Rourke. Maybe in the future I might travel the world more too, doing management work somewhere like Australia or the United States. The skills you get in construction can take you far.

To other young people looking at opportunities, I’d say it’s not all about the wage – it’s about where it’ll get you. On my first apprenticeship, the pay wasn’t great, but as I’ve progressed my wages have tripled and I’ve matured because I’m in a professional working environment. Never give up – and dream big. 

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