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Freya's Work Experience

Hello, my name is Freya Lambert-Cannon

For the last 2 years, I have had a growing interest in the construction industry. I am currently at Oxted school going into year 11 and my favourite subjects are maths and physics which is steering me down the path of engineering and construction. After searching and searching for a place to work that would give me an insight into my chosen industry, I walked past Buxton and thought it would be the perfect opportunity. Luckily during the summer holiday, I was able to go to Buxton Building Contractors by Cedar House to experience a week at work.

During my first day at Buxton, I was introduced to all the team in the office by Becky Rowe who is the office manager and organised my whole work experience week. I met many of the departments: aftercare, accounts, estimators, surveyors, marketing, contracts managers and the directors.

I was introduced to Suzanne, the finance director and Greg, the commercial director. As the week progressed, I met David Norman who is the Managing Director and he kindly gave me an overview of what Buxton do. Having met most people in the office, I gained more of an understanding of the different sectors in the construction industry. In the afternoon, Divya who is a Quantity Surveyor went through an induction PowerPoint of health and safety for my site visit to Melrose School and Centrillion point. During the induction, she also introduced me to the different routes of how to get into the construction industry through apprenticeship schemes. After explaining the process, it takes to have a finished job she showed me the design stage where I looked through the tender drawings and construction drawings to find the adjustments so they can get a more accurate price.

I was so excited for my 2nd day, as it would be my first experience of being on a building site on such a large scale. When I arrived at Melrose school, I was equipped with all the PPE and walked around the site with Gary the Contracts Manager. He explained all the work that had been done so far and the works still need to be done, the problems that might affect the finishing date as well as how they overcome the challenges of delays in material and changes to building. Being very new to scaffolding it was pretty daunting especially not being a fan of heights, luckily it wasn’t too high and I felt very safe as I was made aware of any potential hazards. Later on, I listened to Ben’s (who is a trainee surveyor) first pre-start meeting with the subcontractor which was very interesting. As I became more confident the Site Manager Martin gave me the responsibility for the camera to document work done or anything that would need to be checked before finishing. On my way back from the site I had a discussion with Mark a Senior Surveyor about how he got into the industry which was very helpful.

Day 3 and 4 were back in the office. I started off in marketing and my first job was to look through the datasheets for several different sites to find common keywords. Then using Buxton bear I had to create a PowerPoint about health and safety near building sites to inform younger people to ensure they understood any dangers. To my surprise, I also learnt about Alfie the ghost who haunts Cedar house but fortunately, I had no encounters with him. Whilst in accounts, I realised the importance of being organised and being able to spot smaller details.

By Friday I couldn’t believe it was my last day of such an incredible week - I did not want it to end. We headed towards Croydon where I would be visiting a recladding job, this site was such a vast change from Melrose school but it was astonishing how much time and work has to go into making the block of flats safe.

I met Laurence, who was kind and reassuring which helped me feel more relaxed when going up 5 levels of scaffolding.

Having this amazing opportunity of work experience at Buxton Building Contractors was very insightful and has encouraged me to continue on this path of pursuing a career in the construction industry. The experience improved my communication skills as I had the pleasure of speaking to a vast range of people with different responsibilities, encouraging me to challenge myself and boost my confidence. I have learnt the importance of accepting new opportunities even if they seem overwhelming.

Thank you to everyone who helped me during my work experience week, especially Becky and Vicky who organised the week giving me lots to do. I love the steel toe-capped boots that I was allowed to keep!

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