Career blogs

With National Careers Week, this year we pledge to shine a light on members of our team and their unique career journeys

What does your role involve day to day?
As a skills, education and employment (SEE) advisor my role is to maximise SEE opportunities for local people. This involves supporting communities from all walks of life with new job, training and careers support.

My day-to-day work life can range from talking to students at schools and careers fairs to working with local authorities and charities to run upskilling or work readiness initiatives.

My team’s goal is leave a life-long legacy for people living near to the proposed Lower Thames Crossing!

What lead you to this job?
In February 2020, I joined the project as a receptionist - just before COVID hit! As you can imagine, like the rest of the world, I was extremely concerned about the situation and for the stability of my new role. I had only been on the project for 6 weeks and it wasn't possible for me to complete my duties at home. Fortunately, my line manger approached me about temporarily supporting the SEE team whilst the office was closed. I had never heard of SEE before, but I was excited for the opportunity to learn something new whilst still working.

My key role was to develop our STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) support network. This involved working with education provider STEM Learning, drumming up staff volunteers and offering careers support to local schools. I started to learn so much within this space and was really enjoying what I was doing.

Around a year later the office re-opened and I had to go back to my original role at reception. That’s when I realised that I wanted to try and pursue a career within SEE. Five months later and the opportunity arose as the SEE team was expanding – I’ve now been doing the role since September 2021, I am continuously learning and developing as an individual and I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity!

What did you want to do after leaving school?
I wasn't sure what I wanted to do when I left school, but I’ve always had a real passion for make-up, nails and anything to do with pampering myself. I decided to go to college and study beauty therapy and completed an NVQ levels 2 and 3 and couldn’t wait to get out into the real world. I then started working in a salon, I was there for 5 years working my way up from a junior to senior beauty therapist.

Where else has your work life taken you so far?
Towards the end of my five years in beauty, I started to feel like I needed a change. I was drawn to London as a lot of my friends were working there and I was intrigued to see what all of the fuss was about! I took the plunge and I applied for a corporate receptionist role as I thought I had transferable skills from the salon, booking clients, managing diaries and answering calls. I got the job and before I knew it, like my friends, I started to really enjoy the buzz of city life!
I went on to work as a corporate receptionist in different building’s across London, including ones with high profile tenants like Google and NBCU Universal, where I even got to meet some celebrities - my highlights were Joanna Lumley, Amelia Clarke & Ed Sheeran!

Eventually, I went looking for an internal receptionist role so that I could feel more integrated within a company and develop myself further. This then led me to the Lower Thames Crossing. I had never heard of the project prior to this or ever really considered working in the construction industry!

Tell me a bit about you?
I have lived in Havering for most of my life, although last year I moved to Thurrock. I love anything to do with nature, going for long walks in the forest with my dog, Rollo, and being able to catch a beautiful sunset or a sunrise - if I manage to up early enough!

I love anything that’s a bit scary or adventurous. Over the past few years, I have done two sky dives and paraglided off a 6500ft mountain in Turkey!

What advice would you give to somebody thinking about their next career steps?
Never be afraid of failure. Sometimes the best way to learn in life is by your mistakes.

What does your role involve day to day?
As a carbon project manager, my primary goal is to provide orderliness, conciseness and effective project management to the carbon team, who’s current aim is devising how we (Lower Thames Crossing) can achieve the lowest carbon emissions during construction and reach our one goal of building the UK’s greenest road.

My daily activities are heavily involved with supporting the team and keeping us on track, with planning tasks, attending meetings and managing finances, to name a few.

What lead you to this job? 
I graduated from the University of Bradford in 2019 with a Master of Civil and Structural Engineering. I am now on the National Highways graduate scheme which involves taking part in three work placements across different departments to grow my knowledge and skillset. The first was looking at safety and engineering standards in road drainage and I’m now on my second placement working in the carbon team for the Lower Thames Crossing.

This couldn’t have come at a better time given how imperative carbon reduction is of a topic in the current climate for both government and members of the public. I’m very passionate about the environment, so getting an opportunity to contribute and work in a team of experts to reduce emissions on such a large-scale project, all the while working towards my development, has been a perfect combination. It has been a challenging and exciting experience so far to say the least.

What did you want to do when you were a kid?
From a very young age, I knew I wanted to become a civil engineer. I was always fascinated by skyscrapers and well-designed buildings and spent many evenings watching Grand Designs on Channel 4.

It was when I studied transportation and geotechnics at university that my plans shifted from buildings to bridges and roads. I found the engineering of transportation infrastructure more challenging and not just architecturally pleasing to the eye!

Tell me a bit about you? 
I am a big fan of music both listening and playing. During lockdown, I spent a lot of time teaching myself how to play the piano and I now play for my local church. I also enjoy playing football on weekends and binge watching tv shows!

What piece of advice would you give to somebody thinking about their next career steps?
It’s important to try things and find what you enjoy. Sometimes it can take time to achieve your goal, so stick at it, give it your all and it will pay off soon enough!

What does your role involve day to day?
Six months ago, I started as a project management apprentice working in the enabling works team. Enabling works is the first stage of activities required before we could start building the new road and tunnels, such as utility diversions and ground clearance.

Within the enabling works team, I’ve been working closely with the archaeology department as we’ve been carrying out archaeological surveys across the proposed Lower Thames Crossing route to understand possible features. This type of work was all new to me at the start, but I found the idea of looking for historic remains and remnants very interesting.

My daily role varies from visiting archaeological survey sites to attending meetings and producing trackers to store data. No one day has been the same which I find very motivating as I have new challenges allowing me to learn and develop.

What lead you to this job?
I have always known that university wasn’t for me. I personally felt like there is more value in working on the job and being in the real environment. Prior to this, I was working in my family’s pub, pulling pints between searching for apprenticeships.

I studied public services at A level and knew I wanted to work in the public sector, so when the opportunity came to work with National Highways I jumped at the opportunity.

What did you want to do after leaving school?
When I was in school, I honestly had no idea what I wanted to do! I found that unless you were going to university and knew exactly what you wanted to be, it was hard to know what to do next. The project management apprenticeship stood out to me as it gives me valuable skills that will last me a lifetime.

Tell me a bit about you? 
I’m 21 and grew up near Staplehurst which is a small village in Kent. In my spare time I’m either out socialising, in the gym or planning my next trip away!

What advice would you give to somebody thinking about their next career steps?
My main advice, which I think many young people can relate to, is that if you’re not sure what you want to do after you leave school, definitely consider an apprenticeship. You avoid the debt of university, and you will get to learn real life skills that education alone will not prepare you for. You also get the added bonus of being paid to learn!

Apprenticeships are now being recognised more and more by employers for how valuable they can be, and I personally feel that my apprenticeship has already given me an experience that will stick with me for a lifetime.

Watch videos from our apprentices

Nina’s story – National Apprenticeship Week 2022
Dominic’s story – National Apprenticeship Week 2022