Friday, 31 January 2014

Constructing her own learning curve

A report for Citylife & Liberti magazines

When Claire Cooper left school aged 17 she was sure of only one thing. She had no idea what job she wanted to do but she wanted to be really, really good at it.

Claire is a project surveyor at Harsco Infrastructure UK Ltd having risen through the ranks alongside gaining two degrees from the University of Portsmouth – one at foundation level and the other a Master’s.
A passion for construction and for seeing buildings rise from the ground has driven her since her first day working at Harsco, which is a global provider of construction and industrial maintenance services, nine years ago.

Working hard, studying hard: Claire Cooper
She said: I have always been fascinated by construction and engineering. Seeing the transitions of a project from a drawing on an A2 sheet of paper to an actual building site is very rewarding and I enjoy my part in that process.”

Claire graduated from the University of Portsmouth last summer with an MSc Project Management with distinction. She had studied part-time for three years while working full-time.
Before studying for her Master’s she had studied at Itchen College, in collaboration with University of Portsmouth, for a Foundation Degree in Business and Management, which also took three years part-time.

She said: “I have always been very enthusiastic about learning, but when I left school, I had little idea of what I wanted to do, except that I wanted to do well for myself.

“As a result, I simply took up every opportunity and challenge that presented itself. If you do that then you’ll find something you enjoy doing.”

Claire self-funded her study for the Foundation Degree because she wanted a business-qualification and to widen her knowledge of operations, marketing and finance.

“Harsco saw my commitment to studying and its benefits to my work so they offered to pay for me to study for my Master’s.”

Claire learned about different project management styles and best practice, and how to use project management tools and techniques. Her employer could see the benefits almost immediately and she was promoted twice.

She said: “I love working in construction.  I love seeing projects run from start to finish and projects are so much more than just bricks and mortar. This passion has definitely developed because of the combination of working and studying in this field.”

Duncan Williams

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