Youth Month – My Career Advice for Young Construction Professionals
After studies, with no experience, it is rather difficult to obtain the perfect opportunities that we have envisioned. Therefore, I always encourage those who are coming after us to remain humble if they want to get to the top.
Every successful person has a story to tell on how they had to overcome challenges. Nothing in every industry comes on a silver platter, and we need to face the reality of where we are and acknowledge the economic challenges we are facing and find ways to deal with them.
Having graduated from the University of Johannesburg with an N’Dip Building (Quantity Surveying and Construction Management), I was among those who struggled to get into the market. I worked six months voluntarily without pay so that I was able to make some contacts. I also worked for five more months as a painter, which was unbelievable for a graduate. However, it made sense to me and having this as the only choice at the time caused me to remain humble with little or no compensation at times.
The very same people I had worked with voluntarily helped me get the opportunities I hoped to receive as a graduate. The key thing was not my skills but my attitude!
Career tips for youth interested in the Construction and Built Environment industries
1. Be sure it is what you want to do.
The Construction industry is not for everyone. Some are meant to be professionals, and some are not. There are certain qualities one must possess to survive and succeed in this industry. Have the right attitude, skills and what it takes to survive this industry that can be difficult at times. Prepare yourself mentally and emotionally to deal with the construction industry dynamics.
2. Networking and Mentorship.
Consider mentorship and networking as this may help to give your career direction. Always ensure you built and retain relationships with individuals who are in the roles you aspire to perform in future.
3. Diversify your skills.
Much as it is important to master your craft in the industry, do not take for granted the benefits of diversifying your skills, particularly in the contraction industry. One may succeed in one craft, however, having multiple skills in the industry can help broaden your opportunities and thus expanding your career as well.
4. Focus, be vigilant, and never stop asking questions.
The construction industry generally consists of working with others, particularly for those who are still learning the trade. It is important to pay attention, ask questions and be vigilant at all times to become a master. For one to learn in this industry, one needs to network and have the willingness to learn from those who are already masters. Attitude is very important.
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