Linda Chard, alumna , MSc Construction Project ManagementFrom an initial interest to expertise: Linda Chard tells us about the experience of both undergraduate and postgraduate study at LSBU, and her career so far
For Linda Chard, her move into construction did not follow one of the more conventional routes. While working as a desk-based loss adjuster for Cunningham Lindsey, she found herself liaising with building contractors on building and refurbishment works.
“It piqued my interest in construction,” she says, “and I began looking into studying a degree in the subject. I had often managed jobs from a distance, and I wanted to be more hands-on – ultimately, that was the deciding factor when it came to studying a degree.”
Finding the right university
Linda had a clear idea of the kind of course she wanted to study. “I was looking for a university that would enable me to study construction management and quantity surveying, and only a handful of universities offered that combination,” she says. “In the end, I chose LSBU because it is in a great location, is home to plenty of diversity, and is ranked as one of the best modern universities for courses in the built environment.”
Career and academic opportunities
From the moment she started her degree, Linda was able to see our dedication to ensuring our graduates are employable from the very outset of their careers. “The course was timetabled with part-time employment in mind,” she says. “That meant I could work as a Trainee Quantity Surveyor throughout my third year, giving me an edge over my peers by the time I’d finished university. It improved my employment and earning prospects, and I was able to apply what I learned at university to my day job.”
Linda also benefitted from securing scholarships in her second and third years, saving her a total of £6,000 on her tuition fees. With such a positive experience behind her, she returned to LSBU after graduating, this time to study an MSc Construction Project Management degree – something making her even more attractive to employers.
I updated my CV on LinkedIn to reflect my new qualification, and was headhunted almost immediately. I’ve now moved on to become an Assistant Project Manager for Northmores, a construction project management consultancy based in Cambridge - I’m currently working on the relocation of Papworth Hospital, a project worth £140 million, amongst others.
Linda finds herself applying the skills she developed at LSBU on a regular basis in her day-to-day role. “I use Microsoft Project and Excel software on a daily basis, schedule construction programmes, work on feasibility reports, carry out site visits to monitor and assess progress, review the wording of construction contracts and much more,” she says. “They all rely on the skills and understanding I developed at LSBU.”
After studying for two degrees back to back, Linda could be forgiven for taking things easy, but she has no such plans. “I’m looking to become a RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) CIOB (Chartered Institute of Building) and APM (Association for Project Management) chartered Project Manager within the next five years,” she says. LSBU has helped me get started because the courses are accredited, so that means I’m on track to realise my goals, and am aiming to have an RICS assessment towards the end of 2018.”
Linda’s believes anyone thinking of a degree in Construction Management should take the plunge. “Construction is a great and varied industry, with lots of options,” she says. “Graduate jobs are plentiful, and the salary and benefits are second to none. The world is your oyster once you are qualified, and each day is different – some projects bring life-changing experiences.”
Find out more about studying BSc (Hons) Commercial Management (Quantity Surveying) and MSc Construction Project Management at LSBU.