Linzi Shearer - Construction Academy Manager

CALA GROUP

Linzi is a project manager with a breadth of experience working on multi, inter and cross-disciplinary projects within academic, public and private sector organisations.  She is responsible for developing a more structured and strategic approach to training and development within the CALA construction function by establishing the ‘Construction Academy of Excellence’. The Academy represents a transformational approach to how we develop our construction teams by providing a clear development pathway for all. Linzi joined CALA from City of Glasgow College, where she had been heading up a CITB-funded project that also aimed to address the technical skills gaps at site management level.

How did you get to where you are in your career? What qualifications did you require?

My career has taken a lot of twists and turns. I studied psychology at university, then spent 5 years working in the pensions sector before realising that it was not for me. In 2008 I decided to go back to university to get my MSc. My goal was to change career direction, which I did, yet somehow ten years on I am still a student! After getting my Masters, I moved to London to work for Surrey County Council, while simultaneously working towards my PhD. Somewhere along the way, I realised that project management is an integral part of a PhD.

What do you like about what you do?

The breadth and scope of projects that you get to work on, and the fact that no two days are ever the same. Projects managed to date include: the rollout of new waste management infrastructure, the development of a computer game designed to encourage young people to pursue a career in site management, and the development of a suite of e-learning modules for the construction industry. Each and every new project is a learning challenge – you need to know enough about the subject matter to be able to control the project, without necessarily becoming the subject matter expert yourself.

What has been the most challenging moment of your career?

The most challenging time in my career to date was the period when I was working and studying for my PhD – both on a full time basis. This inevitably took a toll on my social life, mental and physical health, but the experience was invaluable as I learned so much about how to manage conflicting priorities and demanding stakeholders – both of which are essential competencies of all project managers.

What is the most rewarding part of your job role at CALA?

The most rewarding part of my job here at CALA has been taking a project that had been at the ideation stage for over a year, and developing it to the point of delivery in a very short space of time. It is very rewarding working with key stakeholders who have a vested interest in the project and seeing their reactions as the project is brought to life.