Perfect course for aspiring construction managers

Mercedes Vaughan-Matthews, from Cwmbran, studied the BSc (Hons) Construction Project Management degree. She now works as a Business Development Manager for Bouygues UK, earning a salary of £45,000.

Mercedes also represents the company on the Southern Construction Framework (SCF) panel, where she is the youngest Framework Manager to date.

About my job

"Being a Business Development Manager is very enjoyable. The majority of my time is spent out of the office, visiting our various projects in residential, education, leisure, health and retail, working with consultants, clients and attending key industry seminars and events. 

My role is to improve our company’s market position and achieve financial growth, rather than project specific management. Day-to-day activities include mapping out long-term company strategic goals, building key customer and supply chain relationships, identifying business opportunities, negotiating and closing business deals and maintaining extensive knowledge of current market conditions.

I didn’t set out to be a project manager. Originally, I wanted to be an architect but the thought of nine years of study put me off. Project Management was the next logical step as I could still be involved in a project from initial concept through to completion.

A female friend of mine completed the Project Management course two years ahead of me and thoroughly enjoyed it. The few reservations I had about the industry, were diminished by the fact that the skills developed on the project management degree were a great gateway into many employment sectors outside of construction and engineering, so it could form the basis of multiple careers.

Versatile qualification

The project management qualification is ideal for those who want become a manager in the construction industry, as I did – and it provided me with a great professional grounding. I learnt how to manage and coordinate construction project activities, how to optimise the commercial outcome of construction contracts and how to ensure legislative compliance. It taught me how to plan, organise and control construction operations, building my knowledge in all stages of the process – from initial feasibility studies through to design, construction, maintenance, refurbishment and demolition.

All our lecturers were leading industry professionals in various areas. If they couldn’t point us in the right direction on a topic, then they would know people in the industry who could.  This professional knowledge and expertise was reflected in the coursework, which was based upon real-life projects and case studies. 

We shared core modules with related courses, such as civil engineering and surveying. This meant that I not only benefitted from collaborative learning with students from other disciplines, gaining an understanding of essential foundation subjects, but was able to work alongside and create links with like-minded people, who are now employed in the industry.

In the first year, there was a work-based learning module that required me to undertake an industry placement to gain practical experience. This was extremely beneficial for my career as following the placement, the company offered me a position and I worked with them for just over four years.

The construction industry is calling out for strong young females, and despite a poor existing image, it is a wonderful diverse world with a variety of job roles that you never thought would have existed."