Jessica Clegg

Company: Auldyn Construction Ltd

Job title: Quantity Surveyor

Jessica moved back to Island after graduating from Nottingham Trent University to pursue a career in Quantity Surveying. Jessica wanted to return to the Isle of Man to enjoy the quality of life it offered - the benefits of fresh air and your place of work on your doorstep speaks for itself!

Background

Education – where did you study and what course?

Nottingham Trent University studying Quantity Surverying and Construction Commercial Management 

How long have you been back on the Island?

I graduated University in June 2014 and decided to move straight back to the I worked for another two companies on the Island before I joined Auldyn Construction Ltd in January 2016.

Life in the Isle of Man

What attracted you back to the Island after University?

I am originally from the UK and moved to the Island in 2005. I appreciated the quality of life over here as opposed to where I used to live in the UK and so this was a big factor in returning after I graduated.

What are the career opportunities in Surveying and the Construction industry?

There are two classifications of Quantity Surveyor; Client and Contractor. I am the Contractors Quantity Surveyor (QS), meaning I have a direct involvement in the site including; placing orders for materials required, remeasurement of works and pricing tenders that are released in the hopes of winning the bid for work!

In comparison, a Client QS or PQS (Professional Quantity Surveyor) is employed by the client directly, so they will have less involvement with the site and will converse between contractor and client. 

From starting off as a ‘trainee QS’ (depending on experience) you work up to a Quantity Surveyor and then a Senior Quantity Surveyor. Depending on the company, there may also be a progression to a Commercial Director role. Though Quantity Surveying is quite a specific degree/career path, if you wanted a change, I believe accountancy would be possible as many characteristics overlap – but I think being a QS is much more interesting!

What is your favourite thing about living on the Island?

A few of my friends who work in the UK as Quantity Surveyors spend a lot of time away from home and driving up and down a motorway. I like how I am never far away from home no matter where my site is! Just now, it’s just across the road!

Why did you decide to pursue a career in…

In all honestly… I don’t actually know! I have assumed it was because I moved around a lot as a child and I was always interested in the type of buildings that were in the area, but I knew I wasn’t interested in Architecture itself. I just remember coming out with wanting to be a QS when I was 14 and my parents and teachers were slightly baffled as to where it came from. I actually refused to take any help from careers advisors and complete career aptitude tests because I was adamant at what I was going to do – and here I am 11 years later.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

For me, it’s a challenge. Every project is different. Each new project I end up looking back on the ones I have completed and think how easy they were comparatively because I have managed to overcome the hurdles that were challenging, and if I encounter them on another project they are less concerning as I’ve overcome them before! Plus, it’s quite a maths-based role without being too difficult – the only thing I can remember from GCSE maths is Pythagoras and Trigonometry which occasionally come in handy when measuring roofs! Other than that, I am not the best at maths. Working in construction is interesting and the projects are always different!

Career progression to date…

I now have 3 years’ experience as a QS with Auldyn Construction and I am in the process of completing my MRICS (Chartered qualification with the RICS), which is compulsory for PQS but not so much for Contractors QS – this will help me gain more recognition, knowledge as well as opening more career possibilities.

Do you have any role models that have helped inspire you?

Honestly, my dad has always pushed me to do whatever I want to do (within reason!) I wouldn’t be on the Isle of Man and I wouldn’t have gone to University if it wasn’t for him…

What are your aspirations?

Right now… it is just to complete my MRICS and be able to put those letters on my email signature!!

And finally...

What advice would you offer to students looking to return to the Island, or who are considering remaining on the Island instead of going abroad to study? 

In hindsight… the first thing I would advise to someone who is at University or College and has an option to take a year out for experience, please do it! I didn’t take up the opportunity and I really wish that I had, it would have given me an extra helping hand and a foundation of experience to build on when I actually started working for Auldyn. And you never know, the company may offer you a full-time role after your graduation, saving a lot of worry!

I went to the UK to study because I didn’t have a choice, you need a degree to be a QS and if you want to become Chartered then there are only a few universities in the UK that offer an easier route into the RICS (although it can still be done, it is just a different process). With regards to other employment opportunities, the Island isn’t as short as you might think – I would consider approaching firms with a CV even if they are not recruiting at the time because they will have to in the future and your CV will already be in their possession.

With regards to building a network – LinkedIn is particularly useful. Any social media platform really can be utilised to reach out to professionals.