What route did you take to becoming a Project Manager?
I studied BTEC Media, Business and ICT. I always knew I didn’t want to go to university as I’d always see on the news or from people I knew complaining about the university debt and not being able to get jobs after university, so I decided I’d prefer to do an apprenticeship which allowed me to do both with more security. I applied for project management apprenticeships but still applied for university for construction management courses in case I was unsuccessful.
The Reality: what does your role actually involve and how does your work affect our lives/the world around us?
My role is to ensure a project is successfully delivered! I’m also a close contact support for the client. In order to do this, I often manage multi-disciplinary teams to work holistically to achieve the overall goal for the client. My role also requires me to apply project management techniques to manage time, cost, build quality and other risks of the project.
I’m currently working on workplace projects; these projects aim to improve the work space ensuring employees have an inclusive, collaborative, efficient space to use when coming into workspace, there has been more emphasis on these types of projects following covid-19 which has had a massive impact in regard to how we work moving from 9-5 Monday to Friday to hybrid or remote working these projects affect everyone around the world to support the new working styles and improving everyone’s place of work to make it a more enjoyable place to be as well as supporting other area such wellbeing.
I often work in multi-disciplinary teams. Typically this would mean working alongside cost consultants, design team including architects and engineers as well as contractors/subcontractors at the later stage of a project. Depending on the type of project can also differ the type of roles you’ll work with, I also work closely with specialist consultants who know a lot about a particular subject, space planners, surveyors etc.
"The best thing about my role is nothing is ever the same for too long. I’m always doing something new whether it's moving onto another project, dealing with different situations that arise both good and/or challenging situations."
My role is also flexible!I'm not just desk based I’m able to get around a lot traveling around the UK to different cities and towns, depending on where my project is located which is a good to explore outside of London.
My role is also flexible! I'm not just desk based I’m able to get around a lot traveling around the UK to different cities and towns, depending on where my project is located."
Hey Ladies, my name is Sian Mullings, I'm 25 years old and I'm a Project Manager at Mace. I’ve been working in the industry for 5 years and 6 Months now and when starting, I never actually knew much about project management. I so happened to speak with my mum’s friend explaining my thoughts on what I wanted to do after sixth form. I gave her a rough idea of what I was looking for from a job and things I’d be interested in. My mums’ friend worked in project controls at the time and explained what project managers are/what they do. From our conversation I looked more into the role I felt like I could see myself doing project management, so I sort of went with it and started applying for project management apprenticeship.
Challenges are inevitable. What are some challenges you personally face at work and how do you overcome them each time?
My main challenge over the years has been my confidence and believing in myself, which has marginally improved. As a project manager you're often in a driving seat so being confident is quite important. Starting as an apprentice to where I am now sometimes, I get a bit of an imposter syndrome. When I first started, I use to think how I am going to do this when I use to shadow project managers. However, to overcome this I just give myself mini pep talks and always remind myself of the hard work I’ve put in and all my achievements thus far to keep positive, motivated and have drive to do even better.
What is it like to be a young woman working in your career area & how do people react when you tell them your job role?
It’s great to be fair, people are often shocked as I’m still quite young but equally interested of how I got into my role and what I do day to day. As I didn’t take the typical university role, I have helped inform a lot of people of the different routes that can be taken whether it be in project management or just in general to get started in your career. As a young woman working in construction /working at Mace I’ve had the best experience everyone has always been so friendly and supportive throughout my career. Also, with the schemes at Mace over the years it has become more common to see women similar to myself and we all have gone or are going through the same journey so it continued support all round which has played a big part in my career.
"My best advice for any young woman considering a career in my role would be “just do it” even if you’re scared, do it scared. Find the role, scheme, or course you want to apply for a go for it, what’s the worst that can happen!"