We joined Assistant Site Manager Rob Gayler for a chat about his career so far and to see how he’s finding working on The Cocoa Works development, a sensitive refurbishment of York’s historic Rowntree Factory.
Tell us about your role at Henry Boot Construction.
I’m an Assistant Site Manager currently based on our Cocoa Works site up in York which is the conversion of the former Rowntree factory into 279 high-quality apartments, with shared ownership options available.
My main role is to manage our subcontractors. I work closely with the supervisors of these companies to ensure that works are conducted efficiently, safely and to the required standards.
Aside from this I will try to help where I can and I do this in a variety of ways: plant checks, inductions, work permits, ordering materials and so on. It’s a busy site so there’s always plenty to do!
Are you enjoying working on a historic site with great significance to the people of York?
The Cocoa Works development is quite different to any of the projects I have previously been involved with. For starters, it is the first refurbishment project I have ever worked on, so it has been a fascinating learning curve.
A lot of our workforce are from York and they all have different stories and different links to the site. It has clearly been a significant part of the area’s history so it’s essential that we recognise this and allow the buildings to play an important part of York’s future too.
We’ve also had quite a few interesting discoveries on site. We found old newspapers, old packs of cigarettes and old photos too. You can find out so much about the building’s early history online but these discoveries show that so much has happened there in the last 40 - 50 years too.
How would you like your career to progress?
I joined Henry Boot Construction at the start of the year as I wanted to work on larger projects, so the Cocoa Works has been a great start to my time with the company.
At this stage of my career, I’m eager to keep experiencing new things and new challenges and one day I hope to be managing important projects like the Cocoa Works itself which make such a big difference to communities.
How do you relax away from work?
Away from work I’m an avid footballer, playing on both Saturdays and Sundays. If I’m not playing football, I’m usually watching it with my friends with a pint or two.
I dabble with a bit of DIY. I am currently in the process of buying a house with my girlfriend, so will hopefully be getting stuck into doing my own house up not too far down the line. Thankfully, I’ve had plenty of practice on both of my parents’ houses.