Jack White, Graduate Cost Manager, AECOM Ireland
BSc (Hons) in Quantity Surveying, Waterford Institute of Technology, 2018
Tell us about your current job and what it involves?
Currently I am employed by AECOM as a graduate cost manager. AECOM is an American multinational engineering firm. I am in my second year of the graduate development programme which is designed to assist you in preparing for your accreditation exams with your chosen professional body. I am based in Dublin in our Hatch Street office. I work within the transaction advisory/cost management team. My daily role as a cost manager is varied and has included the following; cost planning, preparation of proposals and quotes, preparing initial assessment and monthly bank monitoring reports and undertaking technical due diligence reports on various buildings/sites. I have been employed with AECOM for just over a year now and I have really enjoyed it so far.
How did you get the role and what did the application process involve?
During my final year of college in Waterford Institute of Technology many organisations visited to the college in order to attract hopeful graduates/placement students to their firms. One of these organisations who visited WIT that I was very interested in was AECOM. I attended their presentation and spoke to a senior quantity surveyor, expressing my interest in the company. We swapped emails addresses and contact numbers and begun a dialogue from there. Before any interview I wanted to be sure that AECOM was a good fit for me and following numerous calls and a visit to the office, I completed an interview and later that month I was offered the role I am currently in today.
What advice would you have for someone seeking a similar role?
Start early, not only in your final year of college/university but even before this in your second and third year. I think if you focus on getting good industry experience during your placement/gap year you will put yourself in a fantastic position going forward and as you graduate. Engineering/built environment graduates are in a very lucky position at the moment as the industry is incredibly busy. I am sure many graduates will have multiple offers from great firms, however I would stress that it is very important to research and understand the company that you are hoping to work for to ensure that it is the right one for you.
What skills are key and how have you developed them?
From my limited experience I think these are some of the key skills that a QS should have to in order to the progress within the industry are; a good knowledge of construction, good financial and numeracy management skills, a good working knowledge of MS Excel and the ability to learn how to use specialist software. However, these should not limit you if you are looking for a career in this field as the skills listed above are less important than simply working hard, using your initiative and arriving to work every day with a good attitude.
How do you hope to see your career developing?
My first objective is to sit the Assessment of Professional Competency with the Society of Chartered Surveyors in November 2020 and if I am lucky enough to pass I hope to travel as a chartered QS for a number of years. I am unsure as to how my career will develop after this, I guess it is dependent on the industry in Ireland, however I would love to further my education at some stage.