top of page

Advice along your Construction Career Journey

"Networking is key for success – whether you are a Student or a Construction Professional."

My name is Dr. Shu-Ling Lu BSc, MSc, PhD, FCIOB, FHEA, MAPM and I'm an Associate Professor in Construction and Project Management. I am also a Director of the MSc Project Management programme at the University of Reading School of the Built Environment and I am the Chair of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) Reading Hub.

I have been passionately engaged in the built environment field since 1992: as a practitioner, a student, a researcher, and now, as an academic. Being a Taiwanese female who has been living and working in the UK since 2002, my experience in working in the higher education and construction sector in the UK has been a great and positive experience. I believe that a diversity of gender and ethnicity brings tremendous depth and breadth to the construction industry – a kaleidoscope of contexts and viewpoints that produce innovative built environment solutions. In my view, the building blocks of enduring and rewarding success are: hard work; taking responsibility for your own actions; treat other people like the way you would want to be treated; and networking. The first three aspects are very much self-directed. However, ‘networking’ requires individuals to specifically invest their resources and go beyond, on occasion, their comfort zones.

From the first day I meet with my academic tutees and my MSc Project Management programme students, I always emphasise the importance of ‘networking’ – this ethos is nurtured from the beginning when students have enrolled into the construction-related UG and Masters programmes. Universities not only teach you the required knowledge, skills and competence which are required to perform in the construction industry, but also offer you opportunities to network with others including academic staff and students that come from a diverse range of disciplines and cultures. The University of Reading, for example, has students from over 160 countries. A truly global student community that reflects the interconnected world. The diversity of perspectives and opportunities to network provide students with the relationship capital to build a future, globally outward looking career.

Furthermore, students need to expand their network beyond the university they study with. For example, many construction-specific professional bodies, like the CIOB and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) offer free student memberships for those courses they have accredited. Take advantage of this as these professional bodies offer a lot of valuable resources, such as Continued Professional Development seminars. By attending these events in your local area, you will be able to meet construction professionals and firms who are recruiting.

After you have joined the construction industry, you still need to continue working on your relationship capital – networking with your colleagues at your firm, your project partners and beyond. ‘Word of mouth’ is still one of the principal ways on how construction firms recruit. By this stage, do start thinking to be a chartered member of a professional body.

My final piece of advice to students. If you have any questions, always approach your academic staff. They know the construction industry well as they tend to heavily engage with the industry through research projects, consultancy and the professional bodies. Take advantage of your academic staffs’ relationship capital!

LinkedIn: Shu-Ling Lu

74 views0 comments


bottom of page