Lynn Coull

Lynn Coull

What is your job title?

Assistant Project Manager

Provide a brief description of your business.

We are a Scottish house builder who works with private market housing providing beautiful homes with the options of client choices and working with the Scottish Government providing affordable housing to the local authority and other registered social landlords.

Describe your career pathway after leaving school.

After leaving school there was a large amount of uncertainty about what I wanted to do. In my sixth year, I applied to University to do Midwifery but also wanted to go into PR & Marketing. As I couldn't make the decision I decided to start working full-time until I could decide what was the right path for me.

Initially, I got my first job working at Johnstons of Elgin. That started bringing in an income but I knew wasn't quite for me, I then moved to the Moray Council as a Revenues Assistant for five years which was a positive stepping stone however I realised I could not progress in that job. I took the plunge to move out of the comfort of the public sector and go for an interview at Springfield, a place I never thought I would see myself working as I knew absolutely nothing about construction, it was like learning a foreign language.

Starting as an Administrator I was able to do a HNC and progress to a Trainee Project Manager, they have allowed me to become a Graduate Apprentice to complete a degree through Robert Gordons University that will hopefully result in me becoming a qualified Project Manager.

Have you ever been an apprentice? If yes, please explain what this was, what this involved and why would you encourage others to undertake an apprenticeship.

Technically I can be considered as a Graduate Apprentice as I am carrying out the qualification whilst working. When I was younger I didn't realise opportunities like this were possible and has meant I've been able to keep a steady income whilst gaining the qualification and also raising a child. The fact I'm receiving on-site experience while I carry out the course helps even more.

What school subjects would be helpful for your job role?

  • Graphic Communication
  • Mathematics
  • English
  • Business Management
  • Accountancy

What is your favourite thing about the work that you do?

I enjoy the fast-paced energy of working in construction, there's a constant buzzing atmosphere with problem-solving, working as a team, and getting out to the site to see first-hand the issue giving me the experience of working with different trades and furthering my learning.

Why did you want to work in this industry?

In all honesty, I fell into it and did not expect to, it was only when I started I developed a liking for it.

Did you ever want to pursue another career?

There will always be a small part of me that wishes I had trained in Midwifery, even now after having a child myself I believe it would be an extremely rewarding job.

What does a typical day in your role involve?

No two days are the same, each day can be different. I could walk in to work after planning a day in the office to get through my tasks and then within thirty minutes I could be called out to the site to look at a potential problem and spend the majority of the day prioritising that. Some of the main tasks include reporting on progress, looking at materials and schedules for upcoming sites, client meetings, liaising with the Site Managers, etc.

What skills are required to do your job?

You're very much required to be a people person to get on with everyone from Accountants, Health and Safety to Site Managers who all have varying ranges of difficult jobs and different personalities. It's important to be organised to control all aspects of the project and maintain an efficient knowledge of where the project is.

Working in Project Management is challenging as you have to have a varied basic understanding of each of the departments such as engineering, technical, health and safety, quantity surveying, and the programming team.

What is your advice to young people who are considering working in this sector?

My advice would be to accept that it's okay to not know what you want to do when leaving school and to gain a little life experience first. Everyone assumes working in construction is being given a hard hat and some tools to build a house when there are a lot of different avenues to go down such as HR, Purchasing, Accounts, Quantity Surveying, Architectural Technicians etc. The thing to remember is there are always options if you're willing to work hard and put the effort in.

Any other comments?

Don't be shy, put a lot of effort into those CVs and covering letters, and REALLY practice for those interview questions.

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Here at DYW Moray, we'd like to encourage those of you who are employed in Moray to share your career story with us so that we can promote these to Moray's young people. Go on, share your career story now!

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