Ellie Carswell graduated in 2018 with a BA (Hons) in French and Italian. She is now working in the construction industry.
The construction industry is an unusual choice, tell us about your role?
Currently, I am a Graduate Project Manager and am also studying part-time for a Master’s degree in construction project management. I work for Faithful+Gould, a world-leading programme and project management consultancy, which was recently acquired by a Canadian company, SNC-Lavalin, where French is the preferred language for business. I came to be doing this job through assessing my skills as a language student (there are many!), then researching project management, and through having a genuine interest in property.
A typical day for me involves liaising with both clients and contractors to ensure the smooth delivery of a project. The job is varied, as some days I’m in the office and some I’m physically on site seeing a building come to life. Recently I was back at the University of Kent assisting on the new Economics Building – an amazing new space!
What support did you get from Kent for life after your degree?
I took advantage of every career event offered by both the School and the University, attending job-specific talks and employability sessions. I also booked to meet with an adviser at the Careers and Employability Service, where I discovered project management as a career avenue. This inspired me to do some research, and so I attended Kent’s annual Careers Fair where I spoke with the company I work for now, Faithful+Gould.
Did your degree help you to reach your career goals?
My favourite module was Business French, as this module supported my plans for my future career. I really enjoyed learning how the world of business operates in France.
I also spent a year studying abroad splitting my time between France and Italy. The experience was invaluable for me – my confidence and language skills improved immensely. I also realised who I am as a person which helped when choosing my future career.
What was it about Kent that initially appealed to you?
Kent describes itself as the UK’s European university which was hugely positive for me as I wanted to study languages. I loved the campus and the enthusiasm of the teaching staff too.
I have great memories of Kent, the best definitely revolve around the people I met and had the pleasure of working with. I was involved in the Student Ambassador Scheme and loved having the opportunity to work with the next generation of young students.
What are your plans for the future?
My immediate plans are to complete my Master’s degree and become a chartered surveyor within the industry, which is all funded by the company I work for. Working for an international company, I would love to undertake a secondment where I can speak French again, possibly in France itself or Canada. My long-term plan for the future is to keep progressing within the industry, gaining more experience that can enhance my career. It’s a really active industry that is constantly changing, which excites me for the future.
What advice would you give to somebody thinking of coming to Kent?
I’d advise anyone thinking of coming to Kent to choose a degree that you enjoy, rather than one that you believe will pay off in the long run. You invest a lot of time in your education, so it’s important that you enjoy it.
I’m definitely testament to the fact that you do not have to study a related degree to obtain a certain job or career. Employers value you as an individual just as much as a degree, so take every opportunity that is put before you at Kent so you recognise who you are as an individual before you think of your future career. Good luck!