What is it like working for a fast-growing North East building contractor? Gillian Drummond, Office Manager at MGM Construction, shares her experiences.

Gillian Drummond will mark three years at MGM Construction in July 2023, but she has been in the industry since the year 2000.

“It is still a very male dominated industry and you could say it is not for the faint hearted but I absolutely love it. I started with a nice little part time job and it just sucked me in. Times are changing and that’s great to see as well – for example, we now have a female site supervisor in our business and you see a lot more women as quantity surveyors than you did in the past.”

As the Office Manager at a North East construction company that is rapidly expanding, there is no such thing as a ‘typical day’. “Every day is different,” she says. “If you came into the office you could find me answering the phone, working on time sheets, or any number of HR and fleet management activities. It is an incredibly varied role and that is one of the things that keeps it so interesting.”

This broad skill set is apt for working at MGM Construction, which is engaged in a wide range of work from design and build to office fit out; and damp proofing to fire door installation.

For Gillian, taking care of company vehicles includes everything from procurement to scheduled servicing and MoTs, through to dealing with breakdowns and fuel cards. However, it is the HR side of her job that she enjoys the most.

“One of the best things about my job is being involved in all aspects of HR,” she adds. “It means you get to know every employee and I probably speak to every colleague more than anyone anybody else in the company.

“We have grown the team over the past few years to the point where we’re now running out of space – the office team alone has doubled since I started. That involves a lot of mentoring new starters and all the hands-on tasks like sorting them out with a new laptop as well as taking them through induction. We are investing in new talent and recently took on a trainee surveyor, with a trainee accountant starting this summer.

“I also like the legal and compliance side of it, such as putting together contracts and keeping up with legislation and regulations, which is really important in our industry.”

The public sector has always been a key part of the business, and MGM has successfully developed a client base in healthcare and education construction as well as listed building and heritage preservation. With her finger on the pulse of legislation and quality management, Gillian is also called on to contribute to bids for tenders. “Tenders are the most challenging part of the job but it is really rewarding when your bid is successful,” she says. “We all work as part of a team and I’m often asked to help with the sections on quality.”

After work, Gillian likes to unwind with a good walk. “I walk about four miles every day when I get home,” she says. “I really enjoy being outdoors. It started as a way to clear my head and relax, but half the time these days I’m not by myself, I’m walking my son’s spaniels!”