JAMES WALTON, Quantity Surveyor

James Walton started out as a labourer, and after completing one year of an Engineering Degree at the University of Canterbury reconsidered his options and switched his focus to Quantity Surveying. We caught up with James to find out more about his road to construction:

1. Can you tell us more about your pathway into construction?
After realising an engineering degree wasn’t for me, I decided to enrol in the Diploma of Quantity Surveying through Ara Institute of Canterbury, which then lead to them offering me the chance to complete a 12-month Degree in Construction.

During my study I needed a job over summer and handed my CV to a number of different companies. Hawkins were the ones to give me my big break and after working for them for a few months they offered me a permanent role while I continued to study part time. I have now worked for Hawkins for over 7 years.

2. What does your current role involve and what do you enjoy the most about it?

My current role as a Quantity Surveyor involves making sure projects are financially stable, financial risks are accounted for, managing procurement or materials and subcontractor payments.

We have a great culture and the camaraderie between my colleagues is one of the main things I enjoy. I have also enjoyed being given various opportunities and responsibilities that have helped me further my career.

3. Keeping with the theme of career progression, how has Hawkins supported you with your professional growth?

I completed the Hawkins Cadet Programme in my first two years with the company, and Hawkins has continued to support me as I complete my study allowing me to work flexibly alongside my work commitments.

4. What type of projects have you worked on and what has been your favourite?

I have worked on several new build projects and a significant number of refurbishment projects. Being part of the team that refurbished the Christchurch Town Hall will always be special, especially as I can remember going there when I was growing up. To be a part of something so significant to Christchurch was a real highlight, and whilst it was a complex project – it was very rewarding for all those involved.

5. What advice do you have for people who are about to join, or thinking about joining the construction industry?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions! There are so many people in the industry who are knowledgeable in so many different fields and are keen to share their experiences. Also, there is more than one way of doing things – new ideas should always be considered.