Danielle Blakey

Trainee Quantity Surveyor, Hartlepool

Sector: Surveying

It was third time lucky for Danielle in her choice of career – but she now enjoys her role as a trainee quantity surveyor. 

Where do you call home? 

Hartlepool, right by the sea! 

Tell us about your role?  

My current role is a trainee quantity surveyor for a main contractor Bowmer and Kirkland. My job is very stressful but enjoyable. I have learned so much on my journey so far with a lot more to learn. I love that every day is different.  

How did you get to where you are today? 

After leaving school, I wasn’t sure what it was I wanted to do – I just knew I wanted to be successful and achieve “something”.  

I attended college straight after school and started a course in aerospace engineering, but quickly figured this course was not for me. After this, I bagged myself an apprenticeship at Specsavers and again, realised this was not for me. 

After months of disappointing my parents and feeling lost, I decided to go back to college and attended Hartlepool College of Further Education, which is where is started my QS-ing journey. The course I completed was a BTEC extended diploma in construction in the built environment and in my second year, I sent my CV to Bowmer and Kirkland in the hope I would receive an interview. Fortunately this did happen, and I was successful in the process.  

What struggles or obstacles did you face along the way? 

I am my own worst enemy, often doubting myself. I told myself day in day out that I wouldn’t do well in life, that I wouldn’t find myself a good job – I just didn’t feel worthy enough for the role. In college, I found it hard to stay positive and keep hoping that one day I would find myself a job and it would be a great one. All my friends were finding apprenticeships in things they had a passion for and I was still jobless, worrying that I wouldn’t find a career path. However, with the help of teachers, I found an interest in the role of a QS. 

When starting my role with B&K, it was “information overload” and I never ever thought it would get to a stage where it would click and I would understand it. I constantly thought, “what if they think I am stupid? What if they think I can’t handle the pressure? What if they think I’m useless? What if they don’t like me because I am a girl. What if I don’t fit in?” 

My full journey has been a constant battle with myself. I have been my own biggest challenge/obstacle. My career has been hard but with time and patience, everything has been achievable. 

Describe the moment you first got a feel for success? 

My current project, Vaux Sunderland. This job was the chance for me to manage my own packages, which meant much more responsibility. With more responsibility came a higher feeling of achievement, but it also came with some low times when mistakes were made, or things went wrong. This was all part of the learning journey.  

This job has given me an insight of what having my own job will feel like one day. It has given me the feeling of wanting to be a good QS – a QS people can go to when they want things solving and knowing things will get done. It has made me determined to achieve at university and become chartered. 

Do you have any advice for aspiring young females? 

Don’t ever give up, as much as you want to some days. This job/industry will have highs and lows, but it really is worth it. Also, don’t ever tell yourself you aren’t good enough or not worthy. The more you tell yourself, the more you will believe it and it really is not true! I reflect some days and think why did I ever tell myself I am not worthy of this role? I worked hard to get here, so why don’t I deserve it? Hard work and determination shines through, people see it a mile off! You could be the smartest person on the planet but if you don’t have passion, what is the point? 

What advice would you give to your younger self?  

Be kind to yourself, always believe in yourself. Always work hard, always do your best in anything you do. Always be yourself and don’t ever let anyone dim your light. Sometimes in this industry, you feel like you must be a certain way and act a certain way, but don’t let anyone make you feel like you need to change who you are and what you believe in. 

Never give up if you want something so badly, but never be afraid to admit defeat and ask for help. There is always someone who can help you and guide you. This was something I struggled with badly. I used to suffer in silence and waste time overthinking when I could have asked for help and solved the problem sooner. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it shows that you are willing to listen and want to learn.  

What three words inspire you and encourage a positive path?  

You are enough.

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