On my doorstep: a diary of my work experience

Hi, I’m Alysha and I’m a student at Flixton Girl’s School in Urmston.

For those of you that don’t know the area, my school backs on to the ISG refurbishment and update of Urmston Leisure Centre, and I was lucky enough to spend a week doing work experience with the project team.

I spent five days with project manager Steve Lowton learning the ropes on a site that me, my friends and family already use regularly, but we’re looking forward to seeing the changes. The centre needed an update and the new facilities sound great – the café will be a great place to meet with my friends.

I want to study architecture when I finish school, and I thought this would be a great way to learn about the world of work, construction and where I live.

Usually, I spend the week between different classrooms but, for those few days in July my diary looked like this:


  • Introduction to ISG and past projects
  • Introduction to surveying
  • Learning about plans and budgets
  • Site walkaround
  • Learning about subcontractors and their roles


  • Introduction to M&E
  • Lighting and venting overview
  • Walk around the Leisure Centre pod area and indoor facilities
  • Visit to site plant room
  • Learning about operating a live site and its challenges
  • Joined the project manager for a site meeting


  • Introduction to health and safety
  • Risk assessments overview
  • Assessing drawing plans


  • Introduction to planning
  • Introduction to programming and ordering
  • Introduction to BIM / Sketchup


  • Introduction to project management
  • Shadowing project manager on a site walk around

I was most interested in the technical drawings and developments of each stage of the project, and really enjoyed getting to grips with BIM.

You see construction sites everywhere, but you never really know what’s happening behind the hoarding. I know that ISG has done a lot to minimise the impact of the work that they’re doing – such as timing the really noisy work so that it wouldn’t disrupt our exams and meeting with the people who run my school regularly, but by letting me come and join them they’ve shown me a bit more about the industry and just how much hard work is going into the project, and also what it takes to build a successful career.

Now, I want to pursue a career in architecture and, most probably, construction and project management. After I’ve completed my A Level’s I am going to do a degree in architecture and maintain experience and workshops within the construction and project management industry. The architecture degree lasts seven years, with placements, after which I will finish with a Masters degree. Eventually, after building my career, I hope to start my own architectural business in the local area – the big dream is to one day move to America and start a business there!

Urmston Leisure Centre

Flixton Girl’s School overlooks the £6.25m refurbishment and update of Urmston Leisure Centre.

Once completed, Urmston Leisure Centre will host a fresh fitness suite and new group exercise studios. Additional changing rooms, community spaces and a sensory room are being built to accommodate more visitors for a greater variety of activities, and a new climbing wall will bolster the fitness opportunities on offer.

The design plans, which were drawn up by 5Plus Architects, also include a brand-new café and reception area, promising a welcoming and relaxing feel to the new centre.

Work is expected to complete by February 2020.

Project manager Steve Lowton said: “It was an absolute pleasure to have Alysha on the team over the five days. She showed interest and enthusiasm on all the topics covered. She showed all the necessary attributes to succeed in her future ambitions. Alysha is a credit to Flixton Girl’s School.”

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