People: in focus - Nazma Uddin, C&PM alumnus, on gender balance in construction
17 November 2016
Nazma Uddin talks to C&PM about her award from the Construction Youth Trust and gender balance in the construction industry.
Last year, Nazma Uddin won the Project Manager of the Year award from the Construction Youth Trust (Duke of Gloucester Awards). Now a Senior Project Manager at Gardiner and Theobald LLC, Nazma Uddin reflects on her time studying BSc Project Management for Construction.
What does your job involve on a day-to-day basis?
It involves communicating solutions, managing expectations, advising clients, working with many consultants and contractors. There is also the usual report writing, meetings, site visits, reviews, etc. Every day is different.
Which department do you work in?
I work within the project management department at Gardiner & Theobald. Our company is an independent global consultancy offering a range of services to the construction and property industry, we are well known for our cost management and project management services. We have specialist teams for different sectors, e.g. residential, commercial, hotels, leisure, retail. I work within the residential / hotel team.
Congratulations on the Project Manager of the Year you received last year. Was there any preparation leading up to that?
Thank you, the award recognises and celebrates the achievements of young professionals in the construction industry. The scheme and Trust work incredibly hard to promote the construction industry to young people of all social backgrounds to increase the number and diversity of entrants into the sector.
I was nominated along with two of my colleagues by my former employers. We were interviewed by a panel of senior professionals within the industry with the winner announced on the Awards night.
How did it feel to receive that award?
Two words: absolutely fantastic! The CYT had published short summaries on all the shortlisted candidates (there were six of us) and when I read up on the accomplishments of the other candidates, I really wasn’t expecting to win. As I was the first candidate to be interviewed, I thought by the end of the day they would have forgotten about me.
I’m involved with a number of voluntary initiatives and, having received the award, I’ve used it to relay a very simple message to others who might be considering entering the construction industry: if I can do it, you definitely can.
How do you think the award has affected your current career?
I had an influx of recruiters get in touch, the publicity was also great for the company I was working for. In terms of my career, I actually decided to move into bank monitoring shortly afterwards. I then realised that I am much better suited to delivery and being hands on, so I returned to project management earlier this year.
Thinking about your time at the School, how do you think your education there helped you to receive the award?
The BSc (Hons) Project Management for Construction programme at UCL provided me with the foundation of where I am today. I wouldn’t have come into this industry otherwise.
Within your work, are there any particular skills learned on the course that you find yourself applying very regularly?
The actual content we were taught makes a lot more sense now, in all honesty, looking back I doubt I understood it all back then! Overall other skills learnt would be life skills, meeting deadlines, managing and prioritising workload etc.
What is the gender balance like in the industry?
I don’t notice it because I haven’t known anything different. Having said that, am aware of the stereotypical perceptions of the construction industry and the fact that despite a lot of hard work, the gender imbalance remains. In terms of my experience, there have been a few times when people have assumed I’m an architect. Overall, I have been very fortunate with the degree of flexibilities and support I’ve received from senior professionals within the industry. I’ve worked with and for some of the best project managers the construction industry has today.