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Graduate Stories

Andrew McGowan
Project Director

I was one of the first to enrol on the Stace Graduate Scheme back in 2013. I’d studied Building Surveying at Sheffield Hallam but chose a career in Project Management because it suited my skills and preferences better. I like the multitasking/juggling side of Project Management.

Stace encourages all graduates to become RICS chartered and I was more than happy to study for my APC. I don’t think people always recognise how intense the APC process is and I was hugely grateful to my mentors Luke Kelly and Sarah Brighty. In fact, I’m not sure I would have passed first time without their and other people in the organisation’s support.

Around the time of my APC studies in 2014, I worked on NW01, a residential development which forms part of the Wembley Regeneration Scheme, and the London Designer Outlet. I assisted the Partner and Director and was surprised to find myself chairing meetings and taking responsibility for aspects of the projects very early on. At Stace, you’re working from day one, it’s not a waiting game until you pass your exams.

Now, as a qualified Associate Project Manager, I’m working on two major residential projects, ranging from 470 to 750 units.

I’m responsible for a wide range of tasks, from chairing meetings between the client, the architect and the contractor to managing changes, reviewing quality, checking monthly evaluations and – the busiest part of a project with the heaviest workload – the handover, or partial handover, on completion.

Graduates looking to join the Stace scheme will get the best training and support around …

Anyone thinking of going into Project Management needs to have excellent organisational and communication skills on top of the expected construction technology knowledge. That’s because you’re out on site, client facing; you can’t hide behind email. You have to know what’s going on in all your projects and be ready to answer all sorts of questions.

Outside of the business side of my role, I organise the biweekly ‘five a side’ football matches against Quintain, Sisk and other Wembley consultants. These matches aren’t just a bonding opportunity for the guys at Stace, they’re a great chance to network with clients and for me to introduce newer members of the Project Management team to the right individuals in a relaxed setting.

That’s another great side of working at Stace: there’s always something happening on the social scene. All the divisions have a social event after each Quarterly Update and we have workshops throughout the year where everyone can meet people from other offices and divisions.

Graduates looking to join the Stace scheme will get the best training and support around – and they’ll work with a great bunch of people. But they’ll need to be highly motivated, have the right attitude, be willing to learn and be willing to get involved in all aspects of a project. There will be tough days ahead when you need a strong character to get through. But the sense of satisfaction at the end and the interaction with clients and colleagues, is well and truly worth it.

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Rupam Patel
Monitoring Surveyor
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