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In the Spotlight: An interview with Project Management Work Placement Student Alecx Llamas

We sat down and spoke to our new Project Management Work Placement Student Alecx about her education, career aspirations and the construction industry as she settles in at our Cambridge Street Collective and Elshaw House projects in Sheffield.

Originally from the Philippines, Alecx earned a BS in Civil Engineering from Mapua University, she is now studying a MSc in Construction Project Management at Sheffield Hallam University for a year and joining us for a six-month work placement.

Alecx is studying a MSc in Construction Project Management at Sheffield Hallam University

Why were you attracted to a career in the construction industry?

My father works in the industry back in the Philippines as a Procurement Manager, so naturally I was exposed to construction early on. It always fascinated me how every structure can be built from ground-up and told myself that I wanted to be a part of projects like these.

What stood out to me is the complexity and diversity, having lots of different backgrounds, whether it’s trade, civil, mechanical, electrical, management, and other stakeholders being a part of it. It’s such an exciting industry because there’s just so much to learn and experience.

How do you think practical experience will help your training?

Since I am currently in university, most of it is just theoretical. While I do understand the description from a book or my lessons and that I can ask my professors to elaborate, I still don’t fully understand what it really stands for in the industry. There are legislations, standards, construction methods, documentations that we tackle but what does it really mean out there, how does it influence the project?

This is why I’m thankful that I got this opportunity with Henry Boot Construction because I am able to experience being onsite and having a better understanding on what I was actually learning from university. Moreover, I am surrounded by experts in their respective fields that I can learn from, whether it is for management, planning, design, procurement, or engineering and being physically there with them whilst they’re doing their work.

The cherry on top is also being able to manoeuvre around construction software that is being utilised on the project as this is where the industry is developing. Having that practical experience and demonstration is just a privilege.

What is a typical day on a Project Management Work Placement like?

The simple answer to this is that there is no typical day on the Project Management Work Placement because every day and every hour is not the same. You would be in a major meeting with the executives one day and be on site in a windy and rainy day after that. Every day is just exciting and different! You get to spend time with all the managers, planners, engineers, quality surveyors, and designers, giving you immense opportunity to learn and experience a lot of things.

What do you think Heart of the City will bring to Sheffield?

I believe this is the perfect regeneration of the city. It is exciting to see there are new developments and multiple refurbishments that are happening in the heart of Sheffield that will eventually bring in more opportunities and income for locals. It’s shaping Sheffield as a moving forward city that incorporates modern standards and environmentally friendly solutions but still embracing the rich heritage and history.

What were your first impressions of Henry Boot Construction?

As for first impressions, what I’ve noticed here is that they’re all very family oriented and have respect for everyone, equally treating and evaluating each other’s opinions and takes on work.

What I am most grateful for is that they’ve took me in and are actually very supportive of my learning journey, and it is the same for other trainees as well. They really make an effort to make me feel at home and not only to further enhance my skills but also my character development as well.

How do you like to relax outside of work?

When I’m not in school or at work, I tend to listen and watch videos of either Korean Pop Music or Korean Dramas. I love how artistic, intricate, and unexpected all the contents are in this genre.

Another one that interests me is World History, mostly during the Renaissance period. I would watch documentaries and adaptations, listen to podcasts and read about it over and over again. It is just fascinating how things were back then and how art flourished during this period as well.

What are your career aspirations?

Firstly, my goal is to earn MCIOB status and other professional qualifications whilst being able to continue training and learning throughout the years.

As for my career aspirations, the goal is to become an effective Project Manager - particularly within Henry Boot Construction – who is able to lead their team and adapt to new standards and technology in the future. I also have the desire to give back by training and imparting my knowledge to young professionals in the future, being part of their development opportunities just like where I am in right now.

As a female and international student, Henry Boot Construction saw potential in me and gave me the opportunity to be able to develop myself - not only in construction and management - but also character development. They put immense care in and understand the importance of quality training as an integral part for the development of any professional.

Alecx Llamas, Project Management Workplacement Student