When gymnastics coach, Jack Dziegiel and his girlfriend, Fiona, relocated from Nottingham back to Jack’s native Surrey, the time felt right for Jack to explore a change in career.
After an accident at the age of 14 which made Jack’s dream of becoming a professional gymnast more difficult, he focused on coaching instead but he soon realised that this was not going to be a ‘career for life’, so instead, he turned his attention towards his other great love – building.
“My Dad was a professional model maker, constructing model aeroplanes, for museums. Occasionally, he would have to work at weekends and, when he did, I would sometimes assist him.”
This painstaking work required meticulous attention to detail and an enormous amount of care. It had a profound effect on young Jack, instilling in him an overwhelming sense of dedication, determination and accuracy as well as a great love of both construction and engineering, characteristics which are still ingrained in him today.
“When you finish a model, you get an unrivalled sense of accomplishment and pride in what you have created. I knew that was what I wanted from my career, so it seemed logical to pursue a job in construction. At 24, I know I am older than many people starting out on a career path and that, in itself, made me very determined to do well and progress quickly.
And progress Jack has.
Having only joined Bewley as a trainee site manager in February, Jack has just passed his first year exams, having also gained his college’s award for most outstanding student and a nomination for best overall apprentice. “A younger version of me would not have applied myself in quite the same way but this course is focused purely on something I really enjoy and have an interest in. I want to do well and excel, so I am really applying myself. The subjects provide a broad and sound knowledge base, reinforcing many of the concepts on site (and others I am less involved in) but it is the site work which I enjoy most.
“Every day is about problem solving and I work with the most incredible and inspirational team – I think I am extremely lucky.”
The Jubilee Meadows site in Hersham, where Jack works, is one of Bewley’s busiest sites. When complete, it will offer a total of 296 properties, ranging from apartments to houses and offering both affordable and private ownership housing. “The nature of this development meant that I was somewhat thrown in at the deep end and, to a degree, had to simply get on with my job. Saying that, I was never without support. I am fortunate to work with some extremely knowledgeable and talented people. I have a tremendous respect for them and that makes me want to do well. I am learning a huge amount and I am aspiring to be just as good as both my assistant site manager and site manager. It definitely helps that Dan – the assistant site manager here - is only a few years older than me. This is a great motivating factor for me, showing me how far I can get if I do well.”
Indeed his desire to do well combined with his meticulous attention to detail and perseverance to deliver a property of the very best quality has already earned him a reputation within the trade and the respect of a number of external stakeholders, including Housing Associations. His role includes taking properties through first and second fix; overseeing the testing and snagging of properties and arranging for any faults to be fixed by the various trades; liaising with the customer care team; diary management; undertaking weekly welfare check lists and check lists for health and safety; inspecting scaffolding; processing and re-ordering materials; and overseeing skip changes; and overseeing and applying the site’s waste management policy. “The time at work just flies – sometimes it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get it all done” says Jack “but the longer I am here, the easier it is becoming. This is because I have now had time to build up a good rapport and establish positive relationships with a wide group of stakeholders and, as I have done this, my confidence has also grown. This is a tremendous help in getting tasks done efficiently and effectively.”
So, what’s next for Jack? “I am really loving my time at Bewley. Once I complete my Diploma, I will definitely go on to undertake an HNC alongside my work.”