Housebuilding and me: Sumathi Thangarajan, apprentice with Galliard Homes

As our coverage of National Apprenticeship Week 2018 begins – and we look forward to International Women’s Day on Thursday – we speak exclusively to Sumathi Thangarajan, who is 27-years-old and six months into her apprenticeship with high-profile housebuilder Galliard Homes.

Please tell us about yourself and your current role, what do you do at Galliard Homes?

I recently moved to the UK to join my husband and wanted to continue my career in the construction industry. In order to familiarise myself with the UK construction industry norms and practises, I decided to join an apprenticeship programme to learn the required skills and acquire more specific expertise. I am a site management apprentice based at Islington Square.

What duties does your role entail? 

I am part of the construction team and report into the project manager. Some of my responsibilities are managing health and safety for all personnel on site, planning activities and resources to meet work requirements and monitoring the work progress against agreed programme deadlines.

What path did your studies take and was this with a job in housebuilding as a target?

I took an HNC Construction and Built Environment and an NVQ Level 4 Pathway 2: Site Supervision.

When did the property industry first appeal to you?

From a young age I was fascinated with home interior design and finishes. I had some knowledge as to what to expect from the industry and so far the sector has met most of the criteria I had envisioned.

How does the apprenticeship scheme work at Galliard Homes?

I spend four days a week onsite to fulfil the requirements of my NVQ Level 4 Diploma in Construction Site Supervision.  I have been given a day off every week to enable me to work towards achieving my HNC in Construction and Built Environment which Galliard are also funding and I also attend a classroom session once a month. Any other time spent away from site I use to complete my assignments and submissions to gather credits for the completion of my HNC and NVQ.

Is there a project or achievement on the job so far that you’re particularly proud of?

The site management team at Islington Square have been impressed with my diligence and the level of responsibility I have embraced and they have therefore introduced me to other departments and sites following a request from myself. This has allowed me to further build knowledge and gain greater exposure across the business. I’m very proud of this recognition.

What’s the next step from here?

I would like to gain more experience by working across all spheres of the construction industry.

Has the role you’re in now helped shape your career objectives, is there a career position you’re aiming for in particular?

My current role has helped me move towards my career goals. I would like to see myself as a quantity surveyor.

What would you advise anyone considering a similar role to yours and how have you found the apprenticeship experience?

I would like to tell them to follow their passion and interests and choose their apprenticeship programme accordingly. I have gained very good exposure to some of the best people and practises within the construction industry, which all contribute to the achievement of higher health and safety standards.

Come to listen and talk about housebuilding careers – apprenticeship, diversity, training and leadership – at our New Homes Debate in London on Thursday 15 March 2018.

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