New G4C chairs to drive future of the construction industry
G4C is delighted to announce the appointment of two new inspirational national co-chairs to lead this inspiring network of young professionals committed to transforming the industry. Andreea Vihristencu, Professional Services Consultant at Asite and Lydia McGuinness, Section Manager, Wates Construction. We caught up with Andreea and Lydia to find out what makes them tick and their plans for G4C.
Section Manager, Wates Construction
Professional Services Consultant, Asite
What inspires you about construction?
Andreea: I’ve always sought to be part of something meaningful and this industry is just right for that! I’m interested in supporting the young voices to find their own path and positively impact construction with their practices, ways of thinking, and attitudes toward innovation.
Lydia: I am inspired everyday by the people I meet. When working on a construction project, you get to work with so many different professions and trades. I always use the saying ‘you learn something new every day’, because in construction you genuinely do. No two days are the same, which is what makes it so exciting. When a project is finished, and you can physically see the positive impact a building is having on the local community, it gives you so much job satisfaction. That’s what makes construction special to me.
What inspired you to get involved with G4C?
Andreea: I’ve found this platform as a great way to connect with like-minded people that share similar struggles and want to get involved in transforming the construction industry. As all of us are spread out throughout the entire sector, there are a lot of opportunities coming in to learn, network, or raise your profile. Collaboration is what drives the entire platform and not to mention having fun!
Lydia: I first found out about G4C when my company at the time put me up for an award. I was lucky enough to win it, and I remember the sense of achievement and recognition it gave me. I knew this was a network I wanted to be part of and help give other young people that exact same feeling. Young professionals can often be overlooked in a business, but in reality they are the most vital part of it. G4C recognises that, and gives young people a greater voice so they can be involved in the decisions for their future.
Since joining G4C nearly 5 years ago, it has been a huge part of my professional development. It is a collaborative network, where you meet and learn from young professionals from so many different backgrounds. That’s the beauty of G4C, it brings young people in our industry together.
How did you get to this point in your career?
Andreea: My journey in the built environment and the construction industry hasn’t been linear. I began my journey studying Architecture at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. However, I changed it after my second year to Architecture and Interdisciplinary Studies. After I graduated, I worked in Architecture for a few months and decided that architecture wasn’t the path for me. I joined BRE as a Skills & Training Researcher for the Construction Innovation Hub, where I dedicated 2 years to improving diversity and inclusivity in the construction industry. For the last 9 months, I’ve been working as a Professional Services Consultant for Asite. In my role, I support digitalisation for SMEs in the construction industry.
Lydia: After completing my A-level’s, I decided I wanted to enter the working world and so I began looking for an apprenticeship. I was instantly attracted to Construction, being outside and creating something that would last my lifetime was the pull. I began my career in construction as a Trainee Technician and I have now progressed to a Section Manager, whilst completing both a HNC and a BSc (Hons) First Class Honours in Construction Project Management.
What does your ideal industry of the future look like?
Andreea: I would like to see that social value and sustainability are at the heart of the industry. At the moment, construction is quite focused on financial gains, however, we shouldn’t forget that each one of us is entitled to live comfortably and safely. We keep on hearing about the skills gap in the industry but it’s true and it’s a very real concern. I’d like to see the whole industry coming together and really pushing for sustainable practices, inclusivity, and diversion. This sector is for people by people and that should be reflected in the sector’s agenda.
Lydia: My ideal industry is one that is not driven by cost. Making money is important to a business, but how important is money if there is no world left to spend it in? Using sustainable materials/products and creating buildings that minimise energy consumption will have a positive influence on our impact on the environment. Young people are extremely climate change conscious, and they are attracted to companies that are making changes for a more sustainable future for them. If our industry moves away from cost and time driven buildings, then not only will we be passing on a sustainable industry to the next generation, it will also be an industry that the next generation want to be in.
How can G4C make that future happen?
Andreea: Everyone involved in G4C has the common goal of positively disrupting the construction industry. Each one of us is working hard to influence and impact the ones in charge to change their practices for the better. All the knowledge we are sharing with each other supports creating that ideal future. The young professionals that are part of G4C and at the beginning of their career in this sector will benefit from seeing a better way of doing things and feel inspired to push the expectations further and demand a progressive future.
Lydia: G4C are going to be shouting as loud as possible about the good, the bad and the ugly of our industry. We are going to use our platform to showcase why our industry is great but also how we can strive for improvement.
What are your plans for G4C?
Andreea: Along with my fellow co-chair, I want to take the G4C platform to the next level by becoming an even more prominent force and voice in the construction industry. G4C has an incredible talent pool that shouldn’t be wasted. I want to empower each of our members to feel confident to speak up and take those steps to influence our leaders to make the change needed toward a more sustainable and modernised sector. We are a bright, strong and determined bunch of people and that should be reflected in how we portray ourselves to the world.
Lydia: We can’t reveal too much yet, but we have a lot of exciting plans for this year. We really want to push the carbon agenda this year and bring the G4C regions closer together to be one driving force!
What advice do you have for others starting out in the industry?
Andreea: Whatever you’ve pictured for your future in this industry, don’t be afraid of the possibility of that to change. Explore jobs and opportunities as much as you can as they are a great way to understand what you like or what’s suited for you. If you ever feel like something is no longer serving your purpose, don’t be afraid to let it go. Make sure that you don’t miss out on those after-work drinks or outings as you might find your new mates or that breakthrough you’ve been looking for! Nonetheless, join G4C for a supportive and vibrant community of young professionals looking to do better.
Lydia: You’ll have heard it before, and you’re about the hear it again – there is no such thing as a stupid question, so keep asking them! Construction is so vast, and it can be very overwhelming when you first start out. But remember, you’re not expected to know everything so Use. Your. Voice.
Ask the questions, say your opinion and listen so you can continue to grow (and of course join G4C to keep networking!).