Project management at Kier

Project management at Kier

Have you ever thought about working in project management?

Project management means plenty of different things to different people. You could be project managing all sorts at Kier, from the implementation of a new system or process, to the management of a site based project, whether it’s constructing a new hospital, fitting a new bridge onto a road, or managing a water treatment works site, there are all sorts of project management opportunities here, all of which contribute to our goal which is to sustainably deliver infrastructure which is vital to the UK.

So, within this piece, we’ll take a deeper look into what it’s like to be a project manager at Kier, both on-site and off-site, telling you more about the general responsibilities of the role, how you can get into project management, and we’ll even hear from a few of our own project managers.

What is a project manager?

In general terms, a project manager is someone who oversees, coordinates, and manages all aspects of a project, from building a team, to the commercial and financial aspects, design aspects, and even managing client relationships.

The specifics of the role vary across our business streams – a project manager delivering a new system within our group functions won’t do the exact same things as a project manager overseeing the construction of a school, but the basic fundamentals of the role remain the same across all areas, beginning from putting a team together, to cutting the ribbon at the end of the process.

What does a project manager do?

When diving deeper into the finer details of working in project management, it becomes clear that it is a varied, demanding, and very people-focused role.

“You’ll find yourself working with many people throughout the process of a project, and that’s one of my favourite parts of the role. I enjoy working with a team of amazing people, and it makes the role feel very rewarding,” – Matt Davis, project director, Luton & Dunstable hospital.

A big part of your day will be spent with people working on the project, whether that’s on-site, or in the office – you could be discussing any health & safety issues, heading up a meeting with a commercial team of quantity surveyors, or you could be having important talks with clients of the project, all of which are very people-focused aspects of the role.

When it comes to liaising with clients & stakeholders, you could be discussing a range of important topics, but it will mostly be focusing on the actual progress of the project, whether the team are delivering what is meant to be delivered in the timeframe given – showcasing the importance of time management skills in project management, because the implications of a project being late or having a delayed finish can be heavy.

Typically, most key project decisions (financial, design, etc) will also go through the project manager, or project director – the role of whoever heads up the project is determined by the size of it. For example, a project in the value range of £30m, will be led by a project manager, or senior project manager, whereas a project of value upwards of £100m will be overseen by a project director, who may also have several other projects within their region to look after.

But it isn’t all site based though – did you know you could be a project manager within HR?

Working as a project manager in this space is a systems focused role, that affects everyone across the business in one way or another through systems such as our recruitment platforms, or our learn and perform platform. Again, the fundamentals of the role sit quite similarly with that of a project manager on a site, with involvement in things such as procurement processes and vendor selection, risk management, and a lot of meetings with various stakeholders across the business.

“It’s a really fulfilling role knowing that the projects we’re working on within the HR space are affecting everyone across the business in one way or another, and the role gives a quite rewarding feeling once we’ve delivered a project,” – Rebecca Jacob, senior HR project manager.

Rebecca continued to explain how once a HR project such as a system implementation is completed, a period of what is called “hyper care” begins, where the project team are on-hand with a heightened amount of support to users, in the event that any issues or concerns are found.

Who would a project manager work with?

In our projects at Kier, whether they be a major hospital build, a water treatment works site, or a new bridge being installed onto a motorway, there are various teams that feed into completing a job.

On a site based project, you’ll usually find commercial teams with quantity surveyors, design and engineering teams, communications teams, and the site teams (which consist of anyone from operatives, to health & safety teams). All of these teams will report into the project manager, who will work collaboratively with those teams, and support them with what’s going on and managing any concerns and issues.

“Day to day is different, but generally I’m responsible for making sure the project is on track, that people are safe, and keeping the clients up to date. It’s a lot of people work as well as project understanding which is why I think being able to communicate clearly and effectively is such a key skill for a project manager,” – Steven Cory, project manager.

It’s a busy job!

How can I become a project manager?

You can get into project management in a variety of ways. You may begin working as an agent within a nuclear based project, or an operative within our Transportation business, and work your way up into site management. You could enjoy similar progression within a commercial setting, and become a commercial manager, and before you know it, there are opportunities to get into broader project management, and beyond.

We also have our emerging talent routes into project management, via our degree apprenticeship scheme.

When we’re recruiting for a project manager, we look for people who are clear communicators, people who can put across a message to a team in an efficient way. It’s also good to see candidates who have had progression through their careers, showing that they’ve had experiences on a site, seeing a project through from various perspectives – being able to take their past experiences into a role with us. Aside from this, specific qualifications and experience will be required, but will be within the advert of the role you’re looking at.

“I’ve been here for a little while now, and Kier is great. The business has a good, positive feel to it, the culture is great, and there are so many opportunities for development in both a personal and a professional capacity,” – Mike Homer, senior project manager, Alderney water treatment works.

If you’re interested in working in project management at Kier, take a look at our vacancies.

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