Gary Lithgow

Gary Lithgow

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  • 1. What degree did you graduate with?

    I graduated with a BSc (Hons) Quantity Surveying from Edinburgh Napier University

  • 2. What was your experience of the job market when you graduated?

    At the time I graduated in 2009 the construction sector within the UK had gone into a downturn as the recession had begun. I found it very difficult to get any kind of start into the industry as companies were taking on very few graduates if at all. I applied for most jobs that were available at the time but I got no further as the job market was slow and each new position was oversubscribed with new graduates and people already working in the industry.

  • 3. Is it what you had been expecting? If not, What hadn’t you expected?

    I was expecting it to much easier to get into the industry after my studies as there was a shortage of Quantity Surveyors in the industry when I started my degree. But as I got closer to graduating it became clear that it was going to be very difficult to get a job after university as the big news at the time was the recession.

  • 4. How did you look for employment and what was your experience of this?

    I looked for employment initially through my university careers centre and graduate recruitment companies. With not having much luck I continued to apply for positions to get on the career path while working minimum wage jobs. I ultimately decided to move to Canada for a year to work and travel and upon coming back to Scotland I set my goals on getting a career job once again.  

  • 5. How did you hear about Constructing Futures?

    I had previously applied for a job through Contract Scotland and I was therefore on their mailing list. I received an email about a work placement programme from Gillian asking If I would be interested in doing a work placement to gain experience in the industry. So I replied to her email and we set up an interview shortly after.

  • 6. How did Constructing Futures help you?

    After the initial meeting at the Contract Scotland office with Gillian I was then invited for an interview at the Queensferry Crossing with the joint venture Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors. I then started a 3-week work placement as a Trainee Quantity Surveyor working as part of the commercial team in the main office. As I graduated a few years ago I felt that I was being overlooked by employers for more recent graduates and this is where Constructing Futures gave me the opportunity to get that much needed first step into the industry.

  • 7. Tell us about your placement.

    During my placement at FCBC I was working as a Trainee Quantity Surveyor within the commercial team. My main duties were to analyse and process payment applications for the ongoing management of subcontractors on site. I had to liaise with subcontractor representatives to correct costs for any adjustments to payments and create variation orders when needed for any changes to works on site. I learned how to use the company payment application templates to process payments and raise variation orders in line with the terms and conditions of the contract. I was also assisting a senior quantity surveyor to calculate and input cost data for monthly cost reports. The highlight of my placement was going on a site visit to the central tower of the bridge where I gained a good understanding of how the construction processes take place and come together from a first-hand perspective. Working on the Queensferry Crossing project has given me invaluable experience within the industry which I hope will be a great starting position to build on for my career in the future.     

  • 8. Have you since found employment within the industry and did Constructing Futures help this?

    After my initial working placement at FCBC I had an internal review meeting where I was offered a 6-month ongoing contract to continue working on the Queensferry Crossing project. I have now officially been working on the Queensferry Crossing project since March 2016. Without the Constructing Futures programme, I would not have been given the opportunity to gain work experience on this project and ultimately what has led to the job I work in today.  

  • 9. Would you recommend this service to others?

    I would highly recommend Constructing Futures to any graduates looking to get their first career step but are finding it difficult to get that first job. As I graduated several years ago and was being overlooked by employers for more recent or experienced graduates, Constructing Futures gave me the opportunity I needed to get that step into the industry and gain the experience employers are looking for.

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