9th March 2022

NCW2022 – Meet Corey O’Hara, Estimator

What is your role?

Estimating Engineer (Rail Division).

Describe your job in three words?

Challenging, Rewarding, Unique.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Getting to see jobs that you have priced come to life and working with a knowledgeable, friendly team who are always happy to help.

What skills do you need to succeed in your role?

Organisational know-how, problem solving abilities, communication & people skills, computer proficiency, time management.

What education or training do you need for your role?

Typically, a Civil Engineering Degree. However, I started in Marketing and transitioned into a 2-year Trainee Engineer Role. In this trainee role, I completed a Level 3 NVQ in Contracting and Estimating and am currently in the process of finalising the Level 5 version of this NVQ.

What does an average week look like for you?

A typical week usually consists of:

  • Listing Rail enquiries in order of priority and return dates.  
  • Working through the list and completing a detailed quotation document for every job.
  • Researching, sourcing, negotiating, and obtaining the best prices and quotes from suppliers and subcontractors.
  • Liaising with several clients every day in relation to the enquiries we are pricing.
  • Attending tender and pre-start meetings

Why did you choose a career in construction?

It allows you to learn a wide range of skills. It is also great for job stability and longevity; the construction industry isn’t going anywhere!

What is one thing you’ve learnt about the industry, which surprised you?

How quickly it is evolving. The construction industry sometimes gets a bad rep for being ‘behind the times’, but I’ve noticed that the industry is always striving to improve. Whether it’s innovative safety systems or new equipment breakthroughs, we are constantly progressing.

Tell us about your career journey so far?

My journey is not your typical career path!I graduated with a 2:1 Media Degree from Nottingham Trent University in 2017 and joined Van Elle as a Marketing Assistant the day after graduation. I was a Marketing Assistant for two years. Then in 2019, I was asked if I was interested in a two-year Trainee Engineer role and the rest is history!

Following my transition over to engineering, I’ve completed a Level 3 NVQ (Currently working on Level 5) in Contracting and Estimating and spent two years as a Trainee Engineer.

I finished the trainee program in June 2020 I’m now just shy of two years of experience as a fully-fledged estimating engineer!

What advice would you give to somebody looking to get into the role?

Build solid relationships with both colleagues and clients. Always be enthusiastic and willing to learn, ask plenty of questions.

What are your career aspirations?

I aspire to move onto a Senior Estimating Engineer Role, and eventually move into an Estimating Director position.

Do you feel like you’re making a difference in your job?

Very much so. I’ve priced and completed piling projects for several instrumental rail routes in the UK.

What is the best bit of advice you have for someone looking to move into this role?

Be prepared to ask lots of questions! Working in an engineering environment with such an experienced and knowledgeable team in a niche industry is priceless. Ask, ask, ask!

Visit our careers page for more information on Van Elle opportunities.