I started working for France + Associates in November 2016, so it will be 5 years this November.
When I first started with France + Associates I was helping out with social media to showcase their work when the company was newly established. This progressed and I started attending exhibitions as a delegate and representative for the business, before eventually being an exhibitor at these events.
As the social media side naturally progressed, I had the opportunity to visit our sites and take pictures for reports and progress minutes; I really enjoyed this as I’m quite nosey when it comes to houses!! With my background being in sales in my previous job, I was naturally quite chatty on site, and started to really build good rapport with the solicitors, the claimant’s families, and the contractors. In time, this led to me taking on the role of Client Liaison, which involved being the point of contact for claimants’ family/clients and contractors to ring with general enquiries regarding their project. I was also able to pass on important information to the architectural team, freeing up their time, whilst they managed lots of other jobs.
This role led to me being on site a lot more regularly, and I was able to broaden my knowledge of a site, project management and Contract Administration whilst shadowing team members, mainly Karen and Jonathan.
Although I can be very chatty in general, when it came to expressing my thoughts on site, I was really nervous to say anything in case it was wrong. The more and more I am asked to give a little input here and there, the more I am getting used to giving my opinion! It was from this that I’ve asked even more questions on site and during the long drives to and from visits that I have developed my interested in topics that have come under the role of Project Manager.
This has prompted me to explore the different training options available. I have discovered, that to become a Project Manager there are a lot of things you need to know about construction, so my first course is Construction and the Build Environment, which I enrolled in around about a month ago now. Unfortunately, there weren’t enough people to do the course at the place I had originally planned to study, which did delay my start, but I have been able to start and I am currently a student at the Leeds College of Building.
Although I didn’t start off in the construction industry, there’s always been a part of me that has been house obsessed and getting the opportunity to work for France and Associates was a dream come true! It’s such a niche type of work that the company does, it’s a truly life enhancing process. I think really seeing the positive reactions to the accessible homes is really touching. Having a project manager takes away the stress for the client/claimant as much as it can. For most of the people we work with, it has been a very long process under hard circumstances, so for them to know that there is someone overseeing the work done and being on top with all the progress, is really important and reassuring. As the project manager, you are ensuring that the job runs smoothly and to a time scale, whilst involving the claimant in the more exciting parts of the design and build, like choosing kitchens and tiles/carpets! (Mrs Hinch has been used a lot for inspiration the past couple of years!)
Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to train in a few different aspects, from admin to social media training. I’ve also joined in on the architectural teams necessary training programs, which have all really added to my interest in Project Management and construction in general.
I have to say handing over the project to the rightful owners is a tearjerker almost every time, it makes me so proud and happy to work for a company that offer the most beautiful, unique and accessible homes to individuals who really need and deserve it. I need a pack of tissues and a mascara top up every time!
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