Carving your construction career: a guide to your potential career path

For young people leaving school, knowing what to do next is a big challenge. Yet with the opportunities available, variety of roles on offer and the potential to excel throughout your career, there’s no better place to start looking than the construction industry.  

Our Director Sarra Hawes spoke to Get Career Confident, an organisation that provides careers guidance and information for young people and their families in Sussex. In her interview, Sarra shares the diversity of possible journeys into construction, detailing not only the different roles available in the sector and what the job specifications require, but also the ways young people can access training and develop their careers.  

 

The different routes into construction  

Sarra’s keen to stress the abundance of roles available at the moment for young people in the construction sector, from trades positions to qualification routes into management roles.  

As part of that, Hawes offers apprenticeships to support young people through college while providing on-the-job training and work placements – giving them chance to earn as they learn. These types of schemes give young people the opportunity to develop their skills both in and out of the classroom, gaining qualifications as well as practical experience.  

 

Opportunities for career development 

One of the greatest advantages of a construction career is that the skills you learn are hugely transferable. For example, someone who joins the industry working in a trades role could move across and become an estimator – taking many of the same skills and industry knowledge with them. There’s also huge earning potential – especially if you’re willing to travel for work. 

In fact, Sarra herself says a lot of the site managers she’s worked with have a trade background, and many of the managers have worked their way across and up to senior positions, having found a job for life in the construction sector.  

 

Working up to senior level 

Beginning as a site manager 36 years ago, Sarra now co-runs Hawes Construction Group after founding the company with her husband, Bruce, in 2013. It’s been a varied journey, leading her to a co-director position at her own company. In fact, the only thing Sarra says she would change is a doing bit of extra study for her exams when she left school, which would’ve shortened her next step on the career ladder.  

As a company director, there’s a lot on Sarra’s shoulders! Yet her main focus lies in business development, connecting with clients and securing new projects. She also takes a leading role in the administrative running of the business. Yet it’s the ethos of Hawes that Sarra loves the most: the values we live and work by and the great relationships we build with our clients, suppliers and subcontractors.  

 

Influencing the next generation 

No construction career, or indeed any role in any sector, follows the same path for everyone. It’s one of the many reasons Sarra is so determined to engage young people, particularly women and girls who don’t always see themselves represented in the construction sector.  

Sarra is committed to sharing her journey, and that of her peers, with this audience so they can see first-hand evidence the various routes they can follow to carve a successful career in construction –and feel inspired to do just that. 

 

To find out more about Sarra, follow her personal profile on LinkedIn. You can also contact her directly for information about her availability to come and chat to the students at your school, college or other education facility. She’s always enthusiastic to offer her help.  

Hear Sarra answer questions on everything from sustainable goals to role specifications in the careers video here 

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