My work experience with Mace was split into three parts; the first day I spent with the HR department, the second with the Mace Foundation and my final three days with the marketing team. By spending time in a variety of departments, it broke down the stereotypical view of construction that was formed in my mind, making me realise there is so much more to the industry than what meets the eye.
However, if I'm honest, the biggest shock to the system was trying to adapt to the standard working week. Being used to the typical university routine of a three day week consisting of one or two hour-long lectures – the demands of the corporate world was a stark contrast. The week-long experience was an eye-opener to the working world of London, a pathway which many university students will aspire to follow – and I loved every minute of it, even the nearly two-hour long commute!
Working in the HR department was the perfect way to start my week as I learned a lot about the company and the most integral part of it – its employees. I was shown how diverse HR is, from recruitment to payroll to employee relations. Likewise, I was made aware of the opportunities available to Mace employees, especially because it’s an established global company, working in over 70 countries.
One of the things that stuck in my mind the most was talking with the emerging talent team, who actively try to increase the interest and promote the presence of females in the construction industry. When I told my friends that I would be doing a week's work experience with Mace, they responded with "that sounds masculine". However, with schemes such as the 'Women of the Future', Mace is demonstrating that females can, and should be able to, have a career in the construction industry.
My second day was spent researching Mace’s potential Charity of the Year with the Mace Foundation. Working with the Foundation was amazing as I was able to appreciate the charitable works that corporate companies are able to do, especially international organisations such as Mace, whose charitable influence is felt across the world due to its support of RedR.
On my first day with marketing, I was lucky enough to be taken on a site visit to one of Mace's construction sites, Telehouse North 2, a data centre. It was great to see first-hand the work that goes on outside of the office. I was also able to see the photographer of the project in action, learning about the obstacles and problems involved in architectural photography and how long it can take to get the perfect shot.
The rest of the time I spent working on a variety of projects with the marketing team. Since there are so many variations in marketing, the mentor that I was assigned to made sure that I experienced as much as I was able to in my limited time, giving me a well-rounded and thorough experience.
Ultimately, work experience with Mace was everything I had hoped for and more. I learnt a lot about Mace as a company, being unique in the fact that it is both a consultancy and construction company, and its involvement in iconic London landmarks such as the London Eye and the Shard. I discovered a lot about the construction industry as a whole, changing my preconceived notions of construction as being primarily an industry monopolised by males and not being very open to women. Lastly, I consolidated my own career aspirations to work in a city as buzzing as London and in a company that offers many opportunities for its employees, and maybe even going into construction myself!