Job spotlight: Sajedah Maka-Ismail – going solo

Building surveyor and project manager Sajedah Maka-Ismail started her own construction business, Miles Consult & Construct, this year

Sajedah Maka-Ismail graduated in building surveying in 2001. She joined Lancashire County Council, rising to district surveyor and then moving into project management. In February this year she started her own business, Miles Consult & Construct.

Describe a typical day in your job

I start my day checking emails. Some days can be spent only responding to emails, which can feel unproductive but it determines my focus and how I plan. I will have at least three to four meetings planned for the day – either on site or on Teams, with contractors or clients – to discuss schemes or briefs.

I will aim to spend at least an hour or two producing marketing material and posting on social media, which plays a big part in any new business.

Having my own business means I have the flexibility to check on my mum, who is disabled.

I will wind my day down by updating my diary and completing my ‘to do list’.

What prompted you to strike out on your own? It’s risky but rewarding?

Absolutely! After the death of my father in 2019, I met my husband. Soon after getting married, I decided to give up my work to focus on the care of my disabled mother
and married life.

I have always wanted to start up on my own, but I never had the confidence. I still wanted to excel in my career, so I built a team of 10 support workers to help with the round-the-clock care for my mother.

My husband was the inspiration to set up Miles Consult & Construct. He has been a great support in the drive to make my dream into a reality.

It has its ups and downs, but you learn from your mistakes and, as the business is so young, there is still a lot of work to put into it. It is a case of getting the word out and promoting the business.

In 2013 you told CM you wanted to see the industry work harder to become more diverse. Do you feel it has made progress? What more would you like to see happen?

There have been some amazing changes made but progress has been slower than anticipated. The industry is trying extremely hard to bring diversity to the forefront of employment and skills though and I have noticed a dramatic improvement in the Middle East, especially in Dubai at the Expo this year. I would love to see more events being held in the UK like the Expo, with ambassadors from diverse areas and backgrounds.

I would love to see the government provide funds and support smaller firms to promote diversity. This would allow them to raise awareness and set up training and coaching programmes.

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