After completing his science degree, Matt Tanner decided to work in construction. We find out if being a project manager is all he hoped it would be …
You didn't do a construction degree; why did you choose project management?
I suppose it was my girlfriend's family – they've got a small construction business and I used to help them out a bit, so I learned a lot from that. And my girlfriend works for Taylor Woodrow so I asked her some questions.

How did you get the job with DLE?
I looked for ways to get into the industry and it was the first firm I went to. It ran a two-day assessment for people without construction degrees, including presentations and interviews. When I got the job, they sent me on the masters degree course because I must have a construction degree to become a member of the RICS. I also have to do the RICS chartered course.

You're one of the few people to pass with distinction – was it a lot of work?
It was quite a lot of work and it was difficult to combine it with my job. I had to work weekends to get everything done. It was hard to juggle work and study, and it's a relief to get it done.

Are you pleased with your result?
I was surprised to get that grade. It's nice to be able to focus on my job now. I still have to get through my RICS membership application though, so I have quite a lot to do in my spare time. That should be finished by May, and then I can relax a bit more.

Is the construction industry as you expected it to be?
I was surprised at how many people you need to complete even a small project; I wasn't expecting the sheer complexity of the number of organisations involved in each project, and the conflicts that can arise from that.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
It's varied. You have quite a lot of freedom; there are different people in the office every day, so you never really know what you'll be doing next. You can get out and about and do lots of different things such as visiting sites – you're not stuck in the office chained to your desk.

What are your ambitions for the future?
In the short term, to get chartered and then to continue to broaden my knowledge of the industry. I like travelling in Europe so it'd be nice to work in a European city at some point – but I want to get a good grip on the UK industry first.

Do you have advice for those who want to work in construction but who don't have a related degree?
The course I did was very good, I'd recommend it. Construction can be frustrating – it's slow to change so you have to learn to accept some aspects of the industry. But it's enjoyable because there are lots of opportunities; there are so many different jobs, there's something for everyone.

Age 23

Lives Milton Keynes

Qualifications BSc in environmental science at Leicester University; MSc in construction cost management from Reading University.

Career history I joined Davis Langdon & Everest in June 2001 after completing my degree. They put me on the CCM MSc, which I did part-time while working for DLE. I finished it and became a full-time project manager last July.

Hobbies My girlfriend and I are hoping to build a house, so we’re looking for the right piece of land. I travel in Europe quite a bit, and I play football for our office team.