In a new film Where It All Begins, the Construction Innovation Hub and Class Of Your Own (COYO) have joined together to call on the construction industry to support them in attracting the brightest and best upcoming talent. As part of this campaign, colleagues from across the Hub and our partner network are sharing stories of where it all began for their own careers, to inspire the next generation and shine a light on the vast and perhaps unexpected array of routes that can be taken into the built environment sector. 

Growing up, I had always wanted to make a difference in the world and originally aspired to become a Forensic Psychologist. Yes, before you ask – this career path was massively inspired by binge-watching investigative crime documentaries such as FBI Files and Cold Case Files.

However, whilst studying in my second year of BSc (Hons) Psychology and Criminology, I had a change of heart after realising that in real life, Forensic Psychology isn’t quite the same as how it is portrayed on television. After completing my undergraduate degree, I proceeded to study for my MSc Project Management at the University of Bedfordshire.

My journey in the built environment began at a careers fair held by the University, in which I had the opportunity to apply for a business placement as part of my masters’ degree. The competition was tough for my chosen company – a residential developer – but fortunately I was selected as one of the two students that they required.

During the placement, I was tasked with working on site with the project team to identify and select an area of improvement for the business, which I would then prepare and submit a report on for my dissertation. From the day I set foot on the building site, I knew that this career path was a match made in heaven for me.

The three-month placement went by so quickly – I enjoyed supporting the team on site and learning about all the construction processes, even the Development Director was amazed at how much I had absorbed in the short time. When it came to submitting him my report, he was very impressed with the strategy I’d identified to improve the business’s tendering procedures and overall project delivery with regards to cost, time and quality. I later achieved an A grade for the report and a distinction for my MSc Project Management degree.

On the last day, the Development Director called me to his office and offered me a permanent role as an Assistant Production Manager. You can imagine my surprise considering I had just submitted my dissertation and didn’t even have the results of my degree back yet! It goes without saying that I took this opportunity with both hands and went on to support some truly amazing projects, including purpose-built student accommodation and residential apartment blocks.

I then joined the Construction Innovation Hub in December 2019; their mission to transform construction and build a better world really aligned with my own aspirations of creating positive change in the industry. I get a real sense of fulfilment to be involved in innovative projects that will positively disrupt the built environment and create more sustainable modern methods of construction.

When I come across a project that I’ve been a part of, I feel a great sense of achievement and pride in how far I’ve come and the knowledge that I’ve gained so far in my career. I recently completed my MCIOB Chartered Construction Manager course and I am very excited for what the future holds for me in the industry. Construction is such a diverse industry and consists of so many different professional routes – I truly believe there is a role for anyone who chooses this career path. I would like to encourage anyone reading this blog to join me and so many others in this industry to make a change for a better future!

Itai Kagodora is a Project Manager at the Construction Innovation Hub.

Learn more about the Where It All Begins campaign.