From summer intern to assistant quantity surveyor, here's Tatenda's journey into construction.
Interviewer: Harrison Bartlett
Playing a role in bringing a project to life the way a quantity surveyor does can be a rewarding, interesting and challenging side to a commercial team. In this piece, assistant quantity surveyor Tatenda Ward shares exactly what Kier has to offer.
Harrison Bartlett met with Tatenda to talk more about his progression and how the business has supported him in achieving his career goals.
Tatenda’s journey at Kier started back in 2018. Here he completed a summer placement with us as part of his university qualification in quantity surveying and commercial management, at the University of Derby. He then returned to Kier in August 2019, this time for a year-long industrial placement.
In both placements, Tatenda gained exposure to projects with values as much as £45m, and he emphasised how this supported him in developing key early skills in the role. Then, after graduating in 2021, Tatenda joined the team permanently as a graduate quantity surveyor within Kier Construction and was promoted to assistant quantity surveyor at the end of 2022.
Everyone at Kier has their specialist role to play as we all work together to take projects from start to finish. However, this means that many people will be on hand for the phase of a project when their expertise is needed. Quantity surveyors, however, see a project through from drawings to completion, and I was keen to learn more about what it involves. “It’s really exciting actually; one day you might find yourself submitting cost plans, and the next you could be supporting in a bid submission to win a new project,” Tatenda explains.
Generally, as a quantity surveyor, you’ll be working as a team to complete your project within set timescales and budgets and ensure it makes good returns. “This can become a challenge sometimes as problems and unexpected costs can crop up, but you can overcome this through constantly effective procurement throughout the project, an important skill needed for working within a commercial team,” Tatenda says.
One of his favourite parts of the role is how he and the team can get out on site and assess the project they’re working on. “I love getting to speak to the site teams and doing the site walks to ensure everything looks to be on track, it’s really cool seeing your hard work come together,” he says, with the passion he has for his role shining through.
“Communicating with different people and teams is also something I enjoy, and this role is dynamic in the sense that you need to be having conversations with various people like designers, architects, buyers, planners, site operatives and site managers,” adds Tatenda.
Since joining the business as a graduate quantity surveyor, Tatenda completed his graduate scheme and progressed to an assistant quantity surveyor. He talks fondly of the support he’s had during his time at Kier. “In my experience, Kier has been supportive of my progression and my managers have been a great in helping me achieve my accreditations,” he says. “I love that I have been trusted and given a good amount of responsibility since joining my team from the day I started, making me feel valued straight away.”
We talk a little more about how similar the support Kier offers has been for both of us despite working in very different areas of the business when Tatenda makes a really interesting point. “Because Kier operates in so many different sectors of the construction industry, there’s no end to the opportunities that people can have here and there’s space for you to achieve all of your career goals whilst staying at one business if you wanted to.” At Kier, we operate in a variety of sectors, including highways, rail, aviation, construction and infrastructure, something which absolutely gives our employees the opportunity to gain exposure to different areas of the business if they wish to.
Support in his progression isn’t the only support Kier has been able to provide, with Tatenda being able to take advantage of Kier’s smart working policies. “Generally, us quantity surveyors like to be in the office together in case things crop up so we can work collaboratively in person, but having the option to work from home is so beneficial for a healthy work/life balance and I’m grateful to have that opportunity in my role,” he says.
“All in all, I’d highly recommend a career within the commercial team at Kier, especially as a quantity surveyor. There’s so many development opportunities, interesting projects, and great teams to work within,” Tatenda adds.
Thank you Tatenda for sharing your journey with Kier so far. I really enjoyed our conversation and hearing about all of the fantastic things you and the team are doing, and I’m excited to continue seeing what you get up to in your career at Kier.