“I started working at the Forth Road Bridge on the tolls – taking money and letting the cars across. Then, when the tolls were abolished, I moved into the Stores department and undertook some qualifications to become a purchasing professional, including CIPS exams.
“Then, the contract for the Bridge was won by Amey Highways, who seen in me the potential to be a quantity surveyor and allowed me to become a Commercial Trainee.
“It was then that I attended Fife College to study HNC: Quantity Surveying, and then HND: Quantity Surveying, both on a day release basis, over four years, while working here at Amey.
“Having just completed my HND with the College, I am now going on to study for my degree at Edinburgh Napier University. I’m going straight into 3rd year of the degree after doing my HND, and I intend to have my BSc within the year.
“Since Amey Highways has taken over the Bridge, it’s all really taken off for me. I’ve now been promoted twice within four years and studying my HNC and HND and gaining good marks at Fife College allowed that to happen.
“I think that quantity surveying has always been in my mind. I would have pursued it earlier, but then I had kids and my career took a back step.
“That’s why, when I returned to work, it was on the tolls. I had to sort of start from scratch and build my career from there.
“It was Amey that allowed me to go back to college because the company that are paying for it and I’m studying and working at the same time.
“I think it’s better to work and study at the same time because you’re able to keep advancing in your career while you’re learning. It also gives you a background of knowledge that you can then apply to the job you’re doing every day, which definitely works for me.
“Going on to study at university is an achievement for me. After having kids and looking after parents and things, this is really just something for me.
“I don’t see my BSc as being the end of me studying. I intend to keep going and to complete my Honours year after that and then possibly do contract law after that.
“At work, in my position now as Assistant Commercial Manager, I would be keeping an eye on how much money we’re spending on individual projects we do for Transport Scotland. Each piece of work has an individual project number and there’re always different amounts of money charged for each.
“In general, quantity surveyors are highly numerate and typically control entire project budgets within the construction and civil engineering industry. Our main aim is to reduce unnecessary costs while securing the best value for our clients.
“Amey has a specific contract with Transport Scotland, and it’s my job to make sure that whatever we’re charging Transport Scotland for is adhering to that contract. Some things are included in the contract and some things aren’t, so I need to make sure that everything is charged at the right price.
“I also pay sub-contractors, manage sub-contractors. The job is all about money and spreadsheets.
“The biggest reason I can think of to recommend Fife College would be the staff. I believe that good students are made by good teachers. It’s certainly true in my case!
“The lecturing staff all have industry knowledge and they’ve all worked in the industry before. And you can have real conversations with them; even back and forth about your day-to-day job and how things are going for you there. They’re genuinely interested in that, and the things that re going on in the industry now – because it’s always progressing and always moving forward.
“I was even able to take in some Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality technology that we use at work on the bridge into class to present that for the rest of the students. Not only did the lecturers allow me to do that, they encouraged it! It was a great way to let the class see just how the construction industry and civil engineering are moving forward with new technology.
“The thing that made me most nervous about starting at the College was that I’m that bit older. But I think I got over that by the end of the first week! The classes are made up of lots of different people of different ages, and the young people all accepted us older students straight away for who we were and, I think, enjoyed working with people in class who have that bit more experience.
“I can’t recommend Fife College enough. I thoroughly enjoyed my time studying there.”