Harry Gilder, alumnus, Quantity Surveying, BSc (Hons)
Harry talks personal and professional goals; sharing his climb to Commercial Manager and how his LSBU experience helped his success in the building industry
Harry graduated with a BSc (Hons) Quantity Surveying in 2014. Earlier this year he responded to a call for stories around LSBU’s 125th anniversary and here Harry shares his story to us.
Harry didn’t start in the industry at the best time as it was the start of the recession. “I remember vividly a lecturer saying to our HNC class in 2008 during the recession 'times are very tough right now in the construction industry, but work hard, keep up with your studying because you will be in demand when the industry picks up and when you’re qualified you will be in a good position'. He was right."
After he gained a first class honours degree he was employed by with Como, a main contractor that is part of the Mace Group. Now Harry is a Commercial Manager.
His days vary from either being based on-site, working at head office, or having external meetings with consultants, their supply chain or with the internal professional team. Each project is always different and keeps people interested; He enjoys seeing a project take shape from a set of drawings. So far, he has been involved in project values from 2m to 35mil.
Before his surveying role, his background was in office furniture design and sales which then led onto interiors and fit out. The fit out industry is very fast moving and it has allowed Harry to work in various iconic buildings across London and with a range of consultants and blue chip clients.
Early on in his career, before Harry studied at LSBU, he worked for a subcontractor Landmark Interiors where he started part time studying to gain further education. He first signed up for the ONC at a college in Cambridge. The course was a good introduction after being out of education for so long.
“I researched where I could jump onto the HNC and found LSBU. I was very keen and remember taking time out to visit the campus and meet some of the staff to discuss my options.”
Offer at LSBU
LSBU advised him that if he completed the first year at his current college and achieved a Merit, he could fast track entry onto the HNC and keep working.
This was music to my ears knowing I could skip a year of the college work and get into LSBU and progress with undergraduate studying.
He was offered a conditional place at LSBU and managed to achieve the required Merit to fast track onto the course.
Putting in the hours
He found the HNC hard work, "The day spent studying each week was long and I was getting back at 10pm some days." He met some great friends though and the course was a great foundation. Achieving the results he needed meant he could progress onto the RICS accredited BSc (hons) degree for the final three years.
Final year of studying was a real challenge; Harry was commercially managing our company’s first subcontract to exceed £1 million in value which included a vast amount of change. On top of that he had the added pressure of studying part time. Crossing the finish line and handing in last assignment was a great feeling. Considering all the responsibilities he had during this period…
I believe this is my greatest work achievement to date.
Award for Harry
Whilst at LSBU, he was also nominated for an award to be presented by the Worshipful Company of Constructors. This was the icing on the cake, an opportunity to invite family and be recognised for all the hard work, six years of graft in total. It was a fantastic evening at Drapers Hall in London.
Future plans include becoming a chartered surveyor; he has recently enrolled onto the APC professional route to become a fully chartered RICS surveyor. Working within the Mace group will allow him to gain further valuable experience and exposure to high value and exciting projects.
Harry made a choice to study at LSBU, which gave him the confidence and qualifications to progress on my career. He is very proud of my First Class Hons degree and the award, but nothing compares to how proud he is of his baby daughter and wife for making them a family.
“If I were to give advice to current students, I would say that just gaining a degree doesn’t guarantee you success, it obviously is a huge help, but you need to find the drive and motivation within yourself to succeed with it.'
Don’t wait for it to happen – take the opportunities given to you.
He continues, "Gain as much experience as possible, both managerial and on-site. Having experience and knowledge is key along with your qualifications."