From apprentice to contract manager, Jonathan Wilson shares his career progression.

Jonathan Wilson
Jonathan Wilson

I joined HLA Services six years ago, straight from sixth form and started my apprenticeship as a mechanical project manager.

HLA Services appealed to me because there were clear progression routes that I could explore within a supportive working environment. The initial two years saw me bedding in and shadowing the other contract managers both in the office and onsite.

I then had the opportunity to study a Foundation Degree at Gateshead College. My chosen subject area was Building Services, a two-year course which included one day a week at college, where I learnt the theory side to the role, which balanced the practical skills I was picking up onsite.

During those two years I studied construction technology, construction practice and management, mathematics in construction, principles of heating services design and installation and the principles of ventilation and air conditioning and installation.

At the same time, back in the office, I was learning how to price projects and gaining valuable skills, such as liaising with customers and on-site technical labour, as I slowly took on more responsibility.

I passed the Foundation Degree and I am now a fully fledged contract manager, reporting into line managers, Bruce Kirkley and Mark Charlton, who are always on hand to provide knowledge and guidance.

I am managing a number of projects on my own, dealing with contractors and overseeing the work. A recent example, was a project for Adient Seating, managing various toilet block refurbishments.

Like every business, we have had to adapt to COVID restrictions, with strict health and safety measures in check. Internally and on client locations, masks and sanitisers are in place and, where possible, we look to restrict the amount of people moving between locations.

Moving forward, I want to keep progressing and, when the time is right, I will grab the opportunity to become a senior contract manager.