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The World of Work

From leaving Technical College, I did a number of things. I had the opportunity of continuing with the family construction business ( which I did eventually ) and did so intermittently for a few years.

Along the way I tried out a few different things. I worked on the M3 motorway during the construction, for one of the fencing contractors, building crash barriers, perimeter fencing etc. That I remember as great fun - the road itself was virtually complete and we ( highly illegally ) raced our cars along the empty stretches on the way to and from work.

This was a world away from College and a swift wake up call to the grown up world. We were paid on piecework, so were only paid for each measurable length of fencing constructed. We started early, would get a cooked breakfast around 10am and work through to about 4 pm. Hard graft, but well paid and for a young fit guy it was great. Being outside in all weathers, keeping fit and earning good money, with few responsibilities. It doesn't get much better when you are nineteen.

I tried farming, working on a pig farm and another time on a stud farm. The outdoor life was great, but it was not what I had trained for and ultimately not for me. After a couple of years of playing around I returned to my first love, construction.

Because my Dad was the boss, you might think I would have it easy. Far from it. I was given no special treatment; instead I got all the jobs no one else wanted to do. All the dirty, heavy work that required no skill, was saved for me.

The real big advantage was that I was put to work with all the other trades and learned from them, the skills and techniques that would stand me in good stead throughout my life. I gravitated toward what are known as "wet trades" - bricklaying and plastering, and became proficient in these. I learned about carpentry from highly skilled carpenters, groundworks, plumbing and decorating. Because it was a small business, I could use my college taught skills in the setting out of excavations, leveling, determining falls, and even ( very simple ) project managing.

Eventually I moved towards the practical site management, organizing the trades, managing the build, all the site surveying and setting out, materials buying and scheduling, subcontractors, plant and machinery. Then into costing and estimating, accounts and business planning.

All extraordinary experience, which I am very fortunate to have had. It has been invaluable in my life and has helped me in my own business and when providing management for others.


More later.

The Project Master