Helen Kane graduated with distinction from the MSc Construction Project Management course in 2016. A single mum, Helen runs own chartered surveyors practice, Access Included, and is the first female Chair of RICS Wales.
"I set up my own practice in 2004 after substantial experience in a number of land, property and construction sectors. We handle a range of property issues, and specialise in applying neuroscience research to the environment to increase productivity for people and buildings.
Our current clients include a premier league football club, a national ballet, global hotel companies, luxury retirement living developers, restaurants, charities, healthcare providers, insurers and actors. It’s a constant learning curve, particularly with the neuroscience element, which has a positive and fascinating impact on everyone.
Surveying is a flexible, adaptable profession with endless variety. Whether you are bored easily and have an addiction to learning, like me, or prefer to concentrate on one area among hundreds of options it is a rewarding way to get out and see the world. The profession is ideally suited to women and thrives on the diversity of membership, reflecting the variety of global clients.
My work with project managers and a range of property professionals and construction trades heightened my curiosity about project management and initiated my interest in the construction project management course. The campus is relatively local and an open day chat inspired me to take the challenge to complete a science masters after an arts degree.
Working in groups with a diverse international range of students was extremely rewarding. For example, learning about female project managers in Turkey and China, international contracts and United Nations project managers in war zones in my group was fascinating and inspiring. My contact with students working in local companies also provided a valuable insight and career tips.
Project team knowledge rather than salary was a driving factor in pursuing a Masters, although it has positively affected my salary. My career has advanced considerably as I have a more extensive knowledge about the role of construction and development teams. As surveying is a people business, it’s important to get on and my increased awareness and empathy has enhanced my role and capacity.
I would definitely recommend the construction project management course. It’s a great way to start a career as a project manager and enhance other construction roles. Anyone in the industry or considering its potential would benefit from it. We have an enormous skills gap in construction in Wales (and globally) so there are extremely exciting opportunities to develop a career and earn high salaries.
The course is also RICS-accredited, a qualification that is recognised in 148 countries (my job has taken me to over 70 of them) opening the door to incredible experiences around the world.
There are also some world-class developments in Wales, such as the Swansea Tidal Lagoon, the latest neuroscience developments in the world in Cardiff and new technology developments all over Wales. There has never been a better time to learn about construction in Wales.
To anyone wondering whether they can find the time to complete a course I’d say set yourself the challenge and just do it. If I can, anyone can."