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Jack Avenell - Assistant Quantity Surveyor

I have just started my journey with Laing O’Rourke as an Assistant Quantity Surveyor in the Infrastructure Business Unit.  I’m working on the £100m upgrade of the Beckton Wastewater Treatment Works to prepare it for the arrival of the Thames Tideway Tunnel. The contract was awarded in July 2020 and we are due to be on site in January 2021. At the moment I am working as part of a team to accomplish the steps required for the contractual solution review so we can obtain a notice to proceed and get started on site. Some examples of the tasks I have carried out include preparing a variation order for the excavation and removal of high voltage cables, analysing and smoothing data associated with labour forecasts and carrying out digital take-offs to assist in the development of the final design of the works.
I am so pleased that I chose Laing O’Rourke as they have given me the opportunity to work on such an important project which will contribute to cleaning up the river Thames. I work at the head office in Dartford and although the sheer scale of the company was daunting at first, I quickly got used to seeing familiar faces as people make an effort to engage with you and offer you help. Laing O’Rourke are striving to become the recognised leader for innovation and excellence in the construction industry by 2025, and they realise that in order to achieve this they are going to have to invest in a workforce of creative and diverse thinkers who can work together. They are very proactive in promoting this culture and I have found everyone happy to explain things to me and create a safe environment for me to ask questions and focus on carving out the right career path for me.
My first application to Laing O’Rourke was for a Summer Industrial Placement (SIP) between my second and third year at university. I didn’t know if I wanted to work for a contractor or consultant firm so I did some work experience for a consultant and applied for the SIP with Laing O’Rourke. My placement was on the Thames Tideway Project based in central London. I knew that if I performed well there was the opportunity for me to continue working for Laing O’Rourke as part of the graduate development programme. I kept in touch with the early talent team and a position was identified for me in the December before my graduation. This meant I could concentrate on my studies instead of searching for a job during the final months of my university which was a great relief to me.  
The pandemic had a huge affect on my final year at university and I feel very fortunate that Laing O’Rourke has the confidence to invest in its future talent while other companies have been rescinding their graduate job offers. The company has taken several mitigation steps in its head office such as heat monitoring cameras and enhanced cleaning routines. We have a core team working from the office and we have regular meetings on ‘Teams’ to include the wider team. Once the project moves to site, we are anticipating more dynamic working where there will be a mixture of site, office or home based work. The graduate programme induction was a little different to past inductions as it took place virtually with involvement from senior leaders from within the business.

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