Michael Brearey, construction director at Cardinal, on mentoring and raising awareness of construction roles.
Tell us a little about your career. Why did you choose this industry and what other path might you have taken?
My career path was not a typical one and involved retraining. After several years training as a paint sprayer and not being able to find employment, I started on sites at the age of 21 and managed to gain experience completing different trades. I moved on to running sites of various sizes and complexities which led to a new opportunity in the office controlling procurement and logistics.
I progressed into project management and started a Quantity Surveying degree. On completing my degree, and subsequent professional review, I was able to become a Chartered Member of the CIOB – all while in full-time employment with a young family. I also became a member of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).
“On completing my degree, and subsequent professional review, I was able to become a Chartered Member of the CIOB – all while in full-time employment.”
At work I grew to be contracts manager, then divisional contracts manager and on to operations manager. I continued my professional development by transferring my CIOB membership to the Fellow grade while doing the same with the CMI. I became a Chartered Manager of the CMI and then a Chartered Building Engineer with the Chartered Association of Building Engineers (CABE).
I undertook an NVQ level 5 (now equivalent to a level 7) in Construction Management and then a Business degree part time in the evenings. I was made operations director, from which I was able to advance to managing director. I then moved to a new role as construction director at a larger company, Cardinal, where I have been able to assist in the development of the company at a strategic level to enter new sectors.
I also wanted to give something back so became involved with the CIOB committee and was voted in vice-chair for the Leeds Hub.
You were instrumental in creating a mentoring and training programme – helping colleagues through the MCIOB route. Why?
I am always trying to help others and want people to progress. One of the ways was to mentor others through to Chartered Membership by sharing my experience so they could gain the sense of pride I felt when I became a part of the CIOB.
What would you like to change about the industry?
I would like to raise awareness of the many varied roles in our great industry so that more women and the next generation see it as a viable option. I have completed talks at universities, colleges and schools as well as taking part in events such as Give Construction A Try to ensure that the upcoming generations know of the diverse roles available to them.
How do you spend your spare time?
I enjoy spending time with my family, downhill mountain biking and photography. I enjoy walking and will be completing the Inca Trail in July 2020 to raise awareness and funding for Men’s Mental Health.