"From an early stage I was encouraged to push myself to take on a large amount of responsibility which ensured that I made a real contribution to the company."
After spending a year with Mace on an industrial placement in 2010, April kick started her career by returning in 2013 to join the Mace Graduate Development Programme. Since then, she has put her degree in civil and architectural engineering to good use and has now taken her expertise abroad where she is currently working as a design manager on, what will be, the tallest building in Southeast Asia.
I first considered studying architecture at university but I decided that combining maths with my interest in the built environment would make better use of my strengths - a civil and architectural engineering degree was a perfect fit.
During my industrial placement with Mace I learnt so much and gained experience in a variety of roles such as package management, construction management and design management. It gave me the ambition to work hard in my final two years at university as I knew I wanted to return to Mace after graduating.
When I came back, I worked in the consultancy side of the business - a side of construction I had never experienced before. I worked as a project manager for the public sector consultancy team on relatively small scale, but complex and challenging, government funded school projects. After two years I was given the opportunity to work overseas and bravely took the role as a design manager for Mace in Vietnam.
The graduate scheme was a great way to get into the business. I loved meeting and building professional and social relationships with the graduates from different parts of the company. One of the biggest benefits of the graduate scheme is the many opportunities to network with very senior members of the business. The exposure allowed me to make my mark from early on in my career.
From an early stage I was encouraged to push myself to take on a large amount of responsibility which ensured that I made a real contribution to the company. Mace strives to provide an environment where employees can improve their skills and knowledge in order to deliver a better service for the business.
The nature of international projects is great. Out here, [Vietnam] the teams are so lean which means we are all exposed to a wider variety of responsibilities than you might not get on a UK based project. My current project will show invaluable experience on my CV and I think it’s a great stepping stone for my future career progression.
In early 2014 I was nominated by my senior team to submit an application for the Women in Construction Awards and was shortlisted in the Rising Star category. The whole event was really empowering. It was inspiring to see so many successful women being recognised for making a difference in what is still very much a male-dominated industry.
I would say that although qualifications are important, experience is more so. You can read all the construction textbooks you want but the real knowledge and understanding comes from getting yourself out onto site and watching it all happen.
I'm passionate about encouraging more women into construction; something Mace also fully supports. While I was in the UK I would regularly attend school careers events to share my own experiences in the hope of influencing girls from a young age. In Vietnam it is more challenging to make an impact, however they could teach western countries a thing or two as the male to female split of the workforce is approximately 40% female!
Outside of work, moving internationally has given me the travel bug. I’m making the most of working abroad by experiencing as much Vietnamese culture as I possibly can, as well as exploring the rest of south-east Asia.