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Insights Thinking of working in the UK? Here's how we build the warmest welcome

Meet Andrea Davi. His love of construction has seen him travel from beautiful Lake Garda near Milan to Faithful+Gould in Greater Nottingham. He tells us why the move to the UK was so right for him—and why overseas employees at Faithful+Gould, a member of the AtkinsRéalis Group, can expect a welcome far warmer than the weather.

"Originally, all I wanted to do was study in the UK. But Faithful+Gould have given me so many opportunities and made me feel right at home developing myself professionally."

What made you come to the UK?

I've always had a real passion for the construction sector. I started my journey in Italy in 2011 – working as an apprentice surveyor. It was tough, especially with my limited technical knowledge, and I knew I'd need to study to move up and to progress in the industry.

The UK university structure seemed like the best next step for me – specifically for the construction modules and how they combine theory with practical work experience. By studying in the UK, I'd also be able to learn about the construction sector in English, which would help my career all over the world.

I worked hard and completed a two-year college course in 'Construction and the Built Environment' in one year, enabling a successful application to Nottingham Trent University. I definitely haven't taken the straightforward path – it's been full of exciting challenges!

How did you get the job at Faithful+Gould?

In the final year of my university course, I came across an ad for a Building Surveyor position at Faithful+Gould. I applied through their website, and a week later, they invited me for an interview.

Even though I hadn't yet graduated, they believed in me straight away and hired me as an Assistant Building Surveyor. I decided to complete my university studies, and Faithful+Gould took me on board as a part-time surveyor.

What was your first impression of the organization?

It was definitely a welcoming environment. It helped that I was a mature student with some past work experience, but Faithful+Gould have an excellent setup to welcome all new employees. I've attended quite a few networking and social events that have been organized by my office. We also have many other networking events that are a bit more career-focussed.

How has the job been – are you getting the opportunities you hoped for?

Working for F+G has proved to be an invaluable opportunity. A place where hard work is rewarded with professional growth. I've just overseen the delivery of 120 condition surveys throughout the whole of the UK. The project is now in Phase 2, so I'm overseeing the delivery of 50 intrusive and structural surveys.

Aside from this, I have a few refurbishment projects, including a high-security facility. It's really exciting, and I'm challenging myself all the time. Faithful+Gould give you the responsibility you want but also make sure you're supported. I'm now delegating some of my work, so I'm also improving my leadership skills.

Are you inspired to learn and explore different career paths?

Yes, there are excellent opportunities to learn. At the moment, I'm working towards my chartership and planning to sit my final exam in early 2023. Faithful+Gould will support you in trying new things.

So far, I've mainly worked as a Project Manager, but I'm now exploring Programme Management too. We have internal training and resources working towards the Programme Management Services. I'm keen to explore this and see what further opportunities the organization can offer.

Is Faithful+Gould supportive of your life outside work?

They are. I often travel to inspect sites for meetings and feasibility studies—the rest of the time, I work predominately in the office. But there's a remote and hybrid working policy for those who want it. They encourage external hobbies and are happy to allow flexible hours if people need to train.

The company takes employees' mental health very seriously. Many support structures and networks are available if you feel you're struggling.

What do you love most? Do you feel like you're making a big difference?

Solving problems and seeing my projects become a reality is really exciting. But nothing is more rewarding than outstanding client feedback. Although I manage a small portfolio of clients, the fact that we receive repeat business on most of them says a lot about the service we deliver—and that feels good.

At Faithful+Gould, you also feel like you're making a bigger impact on the world. We're all working towards a global purpose of "Engineering a better future for people and the planet." So as a Programme Manager or Project Manager, I have the opportunity to make many changes that reduce our environmental impact and support more sustainable construction.

For example, I outsource to local chartered engineers and surveyors to reduce low carbon emissions. Within my specifications, I include activities like recycling material most sustainably and specify works to responsibly source materials.

As a contract administrator, I prepare tender packs and often target sustainability and social value goals—challenging our tenderers to explain how these will be implemented.

Interested in opportunities in the UK? Learn more about life inside Faithful+Gould and search live jobs.