David Stevens, Assistant Director, UCL Estates
I lead two distinct teams; The mobilisation and transition team who look after the transition of our projects from construction stage and into effective operations, including health & safety, technical support and moves/decants management. I also lead the Minor and Small Works project delivery functions who are responsible for design and delivering all lower value construction projects across the estate.
I am a Chartered Building Services Engineer and initially came to UCL as an external consultant, before securing my first permanent job as a Performance Manager, then Senior Programmes & Performance Manager before my current role as Assistant Director. I have been in my current role for twenty months and already my scope has expanded to include leading the Minor / Small works function.
What has been clear during the four roles I have taken on at UCL, is that UCL is dedicated to developing its staff and has a clear focus on transferable skills. Each of the job descriptions of the roles I have applied for have required a set of skills different to those that I had been currently using. This has, in turn, encouraged me to think of the skills I can bring to a role outside of the one I was a currently working in. Thinking wider than what I currently do is something I consider to be very important. One of the key achievements that has benefitted my career has been to become chartered. I would encourage all staff to become members of an institution relevant to their role and undertake many of the free CPD events and networking that is offered as a part of membership.
There are also a number of University Sector associations and special interest groups that one can join to hear about what is being done elsewhere in our sector. These often have events and learning sessions which are beneficial. My advice would be to always consider personal development and where you might like to be in 5 years’ time. Understand the UCL Ways of Working and recognising which areas need to be developed; Keeping a record of the activities and projects that are undertaken which support the ways of working and reference these in the annual appraisal.
Regardless of your role or level at UCL, consider asking someone to be your mentor – this can be an invaluable relationship for your career development and should ideally be outside of your line management. Finally, register on the UCL job page for all job alerts at a grade above your current role. Read through the person specifications for these jobs; see what is being required and work to plug any gaps you may have in your own skill set, and what transferable skills might help you move across the institution.
I really like change, and my role is constantly flexing and growing – which gives me great job satisfaction.