Matthew Bragg: My graduate journey
“I always feel WYG have supported me along my career, from starting as a work experience student for a summer, to where I am today.”
Matthew Bragg, an Associate in the Asset Management team tells of his journey with WYG since joining as a graduate in our Cumbria office.
How did you secure your role with WYG?
Back in September 2006, I had always been interested in buildings and construction since I was younger and so enrolled at Northumbria to complete a 4 year building surveying degree course. Towards the end of my first year I decided that it would be beneficial to gain some work experience relevant to my course, for a few weeks during the summer holidays.
Speaking to people within the industry that I knew in my home town, an Engineer that worked for WYG at the time informed me that WYG had a small building surveying team in Cockermouth and that I should write in to enquire. Following discussions and a short interview, I commenced 2 weeks work experience in the summer holidays. I enjoyed working with the team so much; I ended up staying for 8 weeks in the summer holidays before returning to Northumbria University for my second year.
Towards the end of the second year, as part of the course we had to undertake a year’s placement in the industry. Naturally I contacted WYG Cockermouth again who offered me a year’s work placement, commencing in June 2008. During the year I was involved in building surveys, defect surveys, designs, specification writing, maintenance planning and so much more. Towards the end of my year I was undertaking unassisted small asset inspections and was leading my own small refurbishment project for an NHS client.
WYG had taught me a lot over the year, and I had been able to gain a wealth of knowledge to put me on a good track for my final year at University. WYG had taken the time to invest in me and guide me though, assisting my learning and development and getting me involved in all projects at various levels.
As my last year at university only involved 3 days a week of lectures, and 2 days free for study or work, it was agreed that I would stay at WYG and work part time in the remaining 2 days and within the university holidays. This worked out well for me, not only proving an income for university, but also providing me with the tools and assistance from colleagues who helped me with both work projects and my studies and continued my development in my career.
Why did you choose WYG?
Well, at the end of my final year, WYG offered me a Graduate Building Surveying role within the Cumbria office, with all the time and effort WYG staff had put in to me helping me along the way, and the opportunities and work I knew they were involved in, it was an easy decision!
Why have you stayed so long with WYG?
I always feel WYG have supported me along my career, from starting as a work experience student for a summer, to where I am today. There have been key people along the way that have helped mentor me and provide me with support which I shall never forget. I feel from my experience at WYG that they value the people and spend time investing in people which not many employers today do.
What has been the most challenging moment of your career to date?
The most challenging moment to date was around 4 years ago when we undertook the re-tender for our local nuclear framework contract, worth around £1.2m/year at the time to WYG. It was the bulk of our work and a must win tender for the Cockermouth Office. I was involved assisting the senior members of the office compiling the tender return, which involved some very long days, working over 100hours in some weeks to ensure the quality of our submission was the best we could achieve. We later found out we were successful so all the time was worth it!
What has been the most enjoyable moment of your career to date?
I have enjoyed many projects along the way, the most memorable being a refurbishment of a local respite care centre which I designed and managed through to completion, seeing the building users enjoy their new space, specially designed for their needs was a great feeling.
There have also been various highlights of my career to date, the most recent of which is been promoted to Associate and appointed as the regional lead for Building Surveying in Cumbria, now heading up a team of 12 people working on projects both locally and nationally.
What else do you hope to achieve in your career?
Going forward I hope within the next 5 years to become a Director at WYG, continuing to grow the Cumbria based building surveying team across our two offices in Cumbria.
What advice would you give a graduate entering the market today?
As with all jobs, you get back what you put in. Although companies around like WYG are willing to invest in people and provide the tools you need, you need to be prepared to put in the work too. Like in a good relationship, both parties need to put the effort in to make it work, not just the company.
What else do you see in the future for WYG?
When I started back in 2007/08, the building surveying team was 4 people working from the Cockermouth Office, and mainly working on nuclear projects for one client. Over the years with the input from WYG, the hard work of the staff, and the vision of the directors and heads of disciplines, the building surveying team now includes over 40 people nationally and 12 in Cumbria, of which the team still continue to grow.
The team is now working on multiple projects for various clients varying from small projects like undertaking a survey of a flood damaged home, to larger projects such as undertaking a stock condition survey of over 2000 homes all around the world. This growth and verity of work results in WYG being an exciting place to work for with loads of great opportunities.
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