Laura Brown: From the runway to the rubble – building a dream career
Assistant business development manager Laura Brown explains why she chose to leave a career in fashion to pursue a career in construction.
I was very artistic and creative at school and always had a keen interest in fashion, so studying a degree in International Fashion Branding at university seemed like a natural choice.
I was very keen to start the course, but by my second year, I realised that it wasn’t the right option for me. Although I love fashion, I seemed to enjoy the business modules more and loved learning about business and marketing. This was a red flag for me that perhaps I wasn’t on the right course, so after a lot of thought, I made the very difficult decision to drop out of university.
After some time working for a clothing company and insurance broker, where I developed my real-world interest in sales and marketing, I found myself in the world of construction at an engineering firm that is part of Kier’s supply chain.
Whilst working there, I decided the time was right for me to go back to university, this time to study business management, it was also around this time that I applied for and was successful in getting my current role with Kier.
From day one, everyone at Kier was so supportive and seeing how enthusiastic I was, the company offered to put me through the part-time degree course that I had already applied for. Fast forward to today and I am now in my third year of the course at the University of the West of Scotland. I’m really enjoying having the balance of working full-time with Kier whilst studying and attending lectures in the evenings.
Seeing how the theory of the course fits in to the practical hands-on work I am doing has really helped to strengthen my understanding of the course work and achieve some great results so far, which is far removed from my first university experience.
It’s fair to say that my role with Kier is incredibly diverse. One day I could be attending a networking event to build and develop relationships with our key clients or coordinating corporate and charity events and marketing content then the next day I could be out on site researching some of the great innovations Kier is deploying there!
I am also a member of Women in Property, an industry association that creates opportunities, expands knowledge and inspires change for women working in property and construction. I really enjoy my work and although a lot of people say it, in my role, no two days are the same. This variety is a big factor in my enjoyment and I can definitely see myself continuing to develop my career in construction and I have my sights firmly set on achieving a first in my degree and then who knows what will happen… Maybe I can set my sights on a director’s role.
For me personally, being a woman in construction does not pose any barriers, in fact, it opens many doors and I want to encourage more women into the industry as there really is something for everyone. I am a prime example that the world of construction is a world away from its outdated male and muddy perception. Give me the rubble over the runway any day!
- Laura Brown is an assistant business development manager at Kier Regional Building