All too often Construction is not offered to young women as a potential industry in which to start their career, but it is one that can be rewarding and there are many interesting roles from architecture to engineering to quantity surveying. Lucky for Cogent Associates, Assistant Quantity Surveyor Jessica Harris had plenty of support and encouragement from her family and her school.
We share our interview with Jessica on International Women’s Day 2022, to encourage other young women into the industry and to show them what a varied and interesting career it can be.
What were your favourite subjects at school?
My absolute favourite subject at school was Construction Studies but a close second was Geography.
Did you know, while you were at school, what job you wanted to do?
Not really, I knew from loving Construction Studies so much I wanted to do something in relation to the construction industry, but I wasn’t sure what it would be. My construction teacher actually recommended I looked into Quantity Surveying.
Did you go on to further study after leaving school and if so, what made you choose that course?
Yes, I studied Quantity Surveying and Construction Economics in TU Dublin Bolton Street, I went to their open day after my teacher had recommended it and I liked the look of all the modules involved in it, so I put it on my CAO.
What was your first job?
My first job was working in transition year with an accountancy firm but after transition year my jobs were all in cafés, until I worked with a QS company in my first year of college.
What made you choose the Construction Industry?
I always loved Construction; I was lucky that my school had offered it as a subject because I might not have thought of choosing the construction industry otherwise.
Is there anyone who has particularly influenced or inspired you in your chosen career?
My Dad always pushed me to go into construction because he knew I loved it. So as clichéd as it sounds, I would say my Dad.
Did you come across any hurdles along the way?
I can’t think of any, so no I didn’t really.
You now work for Cogent Associates, as an Assistant Surveyor, what do you like about your job?
I like how every day is so different working with a variety of different projects, I’m constantly learning!
Where do you see yourself in the future?
Definitely, in the Construction industry, I know it’s the right industry for me
What advice would you give to any young woman considering a job in the construction industry?
I think if you’re thinking about it definitely look into it, attend open days and ask questions and if you like it absolutely go for it! It’s such an interesting industry to be a part of, it’s constantly moving and changing, no two days are going to be the same and the industry needs more women.