Starting in the postroom as a scanning assistant, Rakhee Patel has had quite the career journey at calfordseaden. Read our interview below to find out more about her experience.
- How did your career journey start?
I joined calfordseaden in 2013, during my final year at university. I started as a scanning assistant while I was completing my product design degree. I had actually completed my year 10 work experience at calfordseaden, so I knew quite a few members of the team.
As a scanning assistant, I mainly worked on scanning archived projects, which helped me to develop an understanding of the company filing structure. I enjoyed working for calfordseaden, but I found that the role didn’t challenge me enough and I wanted to develop some of the skills gained from my degree.
- How did you transition into your new role?
A couple years into the role, the M&E team got extremely busy and were in need of an extra set of hands for a week. This seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to get some exposure in other areas of the business, so I offered my support to the team.
I really enjoyed my time working with the M&E team, and felt like working with CAD really utilised and strengthened my skillset. I decided that I wanted to pursue a career as a CAD Technician and to give myself the best chance, I decided to enrol on an autocad course. Within a year, a role came up in the M&E team, I applied and interviewed and the rest is history!
- Do you feel as if your degree in product design was important in aiding this transition?
Having a degree in product design certainly helped because it gave me an understanding of the work that we are doing on a more technical level. However, my degree was very different in most parts as it was more about having the freedom to create or design anything I wanted with minimal limitations. Whereas working as a CAD Technician is perhaps more complicated as you have to work collaboratively alongside other disciplines to understand and respect the decisions made for the project by the engineers.
I would say that having that hands on experience was much more beneficial and I would definitely recommend to seize any opportunity, no matter how temporary it may seem, so that you can get a true understanding of the role. You never know where it may lead to.
- What has your experience working in the industry been like?
Whilst working within a mechanical and electrical engineering environment for the last 3 years, I have gained insight into the engineering world at a basic level. I am currently working closely with the engineers to strengthen my understanding of how and why they make certain decisions for projects and to develop my technical skills. I firmly believe that working with the engineers in this way will allow me to contribute further to the success of the M&E department.
With the support from my peers and the management team at calfordseaden, I have been able to advance my career from scanning assistant to CAD technician. Having already progressed well within my role as a CAD technician, I have proven my ability to expand my knowledge and I hope to continue to do this as my career develops.
- What advice would you give to someone just starting out their career in construction?
As you might be able to guess from my own career path, my advice would be ‘don’t give up.’ I came so close to giving up when I was working as scanning assistant because I just knew that it wasn’t the right job for me. But if you are fortunate enough to work for a company like calfordseaden and you prove your dedication and commitment, then you can be supported in transitioning into the right role for you.