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Interview with Helen O'Connor - Project Manager

What does your role involve?

To drive delivery of new build homes, mitigate risks and effectively engage with a wide range of key stakeholders working collaboratively to successfully hand these quality homes over on time and to budget.

What’s your average working day like?

Busy! but in a nutshell - collecting and distributing information, asking questions, problem solving, attending site meetings, speaking to a wide variety of consultants.

What do you like most about your role?

I absolutely love that there is so much to learn every single day – I don’t think I will ever be bored. This is what keeps me motivated.

What do you find most challenging about your role?

Being surrounded by people with decades of knowledge; I have an inquisitive nature, am incredibly impatient but I find this challenging in a good way as I want to reach this level of expertise.

What skills/qualities do you need in your role?

Good relationship building and negotiation skills with the ability to adapt your style to your audience. You need to have a team ethos in solving problems and be happy to ask questions as and when needed. You need a willingness to learn and be confident at making decisions. You need to be adaptable and open minded to new ways of doing things.

How long have you worked in property/construction?

I have been linked to the sector for 7.5 years initially recruiting into the housing sector before moving across into development working directly in the sector for nearly 2 years now.

What first attracted you to work in property/construction?

Creating homes that will mean so much to people and also the satisfaction when you reach the end of a development that you managed to overcome all the challenges.

What are you most proud of in your career so far?

I am proud to work for an organisation who makes such a different to people’s lives and to work in such an incredible team where everyone goes above and beyond to help each other whilst having a laugh along the way

What advice would you give to someone thinking about a career in property/construction?

It’s a really exciting industry, lots of innovations, no two days are the same so if you like a challenge and variety, it’s a good industry to be in. Offers loads of transferable skills, it’s a big sector with lots of different opportunities depending on your interests and strengths.

Do you feel that property/construction is mainly male dominated?

You can see it is starting to change, this industry is embracing equality with more women appearing on the scene. It also depends on the specific role.

If so, how do you succeed in this environment?

You need to be resilient and remain true to yourself and what you believe in, always sticking to your values and believes.  

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

It’s an opportunity to reflect on how far we have come, look ahead to the future and where we want to go.

What was your dream career when you were at school?

I never knew what I wanted to do or what the future held, my only interest at this age was sport.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?

I would like to think I will continue progressing up the career ladder.

What are your career aspirations?

To continue to learn, progress, gain knowledge and share this with the next generation.

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