Carl Alderson, Operations Director for Education - Mace Group
Mace People

Carl Alderson

Operations Director

Consultancy, Australia

While delivering education projects across the UK, Carl felt a calling to move across the globe.  Now he has built up our education team in Australia, delivering projects for universities and schools across the country. 

Using Mace’s well-honed construction expertise, he helps our clients bring their complex and challenging education projects to life: from expanding existing schools to building brand new facilities on campus.

What kind of projects did you deliver when you first joined the industry?

I graduated from university in Newcastle in the UK and went to London to work in the construction sector, delivering a huge range of different projects. Most of them were education projects in the south of the UK, but I also worked on some fantastic other jobs.

The most memorable was helping to expand the famous Fortnum and Masons shop in London. It involved demolishing a neighbouring building, creating a new structure and then stitching it into the fabric of a listed heritage department store. It was a complex job but one where I learnt a lot.

What took you to Australia?

Working in London I met loads of Australians and they sold me the dream – sunny days and endless beaches! I’ve always loved the outdoors so it was a very appealing idea.

I wanted to head over immediately but ended up getting a job back in Newcastle with a different firm. Eventually, that company acquired an Australian business and I put myself forward to transfer– and the rest is history.

How did you end up working for Mace?

When I first came to Australia I worked on a number of fantastic education projects In Queensland, including a new 'School of Pharmacy' for the University of Queensland

Eventually, I was ready for a new challenge and Mace offered me the chance to build a new education delivery team. It’s been a fantastic experience and our team is now working on some great projects across the country.

We began by building our experience in the school sector, but now we’ve branched out and I’ve returned to delivering landmark investment projects for universities.

What separates Mace in the sector?

Many of the team that are delivering big education projects in Australia have previous experience in the construction sector. That means when we’re looking at risks or programmes, we understand the challenges and opportunities of actually building the project – we’re not just project managers, we’re construction people as well.

It means we can offer our clients a very frank and honest view of how a programme will be delivered – which means we can offer them a better service and produce the best possible outcomes for them. That’s why we’ve been able to build such fantastic relationships here in Australia: people trust us to deliver.

Why did you end up working in education?

If I’m honest, it was a little bit of luck – it was never my intention. However, it’s proven to be a great outcome for me. There’s something very fulfilling about delivering projects that have such an impact on society; creating places that will influence young people and help them to develop and learn.

Delivering a new building for a university means creating new learning and workspaces that will help to shape the next generation of our leaders. Universities are also very innovative places, they’re great places to work as there’s loads of energy and potential. It’s a wonderful sector.

What’s your favourite kind of project?
I’ve done some great work in the school sector in Australia, but my favourite projects will always be university projects, particularly those that involve heritage buildings. They can be complex but it’s always a fantastic learning experience when we bring a historic building back to life. There’s always a tricky balance to be found between creating a new, modern space for students and protecting the history and fabric of the buildings.
What might someone not know about you?

When I was a student I was offered the chance to do a year abroad in industry and I ended up spending it in East Germany, shortly after the fall of the Berlin wall. It was a huge learning opportunity and a real culture shock.

I was the first student from my university to go over there and it really showed me how different life could be in other countries. That was where I first realised I might want to move abroad later in life. 

Carl Alderson, Operations Director for Education - Mace Group

“We understand the challenges and opportunities of actually building the project – we’re not just project managers, we’re construction people as well. ”