Head of Industry Innovation, Costain
I am currently Head of Industry Innovation for Costain, working in the Construction sector. My primary role is to help identify, manage, and develop innovative ideas and technologies and ensure they are deployed across the business, supporting our complex delivery and consultancy services to deliver the best outcomes for our clients in the rail, highways, water, energy, and aviation sectors.
However, I began my career as a field archaeologist, working in the Middle East – mainly in Jordan, Turkey, and Iraq - after completing a degree in Near Eastern Archaeology and languages. It was the skills gained as an archaeologist which allowed me to move from the heritage sector into the construction sector.
A role in field archaeology teaches you a number of great skills which are easily transferable to other industries and career paths. As an archaeologist you must have strong analytical skills and be able to interpret different data sets to understand the big picture. You will learn to communicate this data through report writing and publications. Archaeology is process driven so you will learn to be methodical and systematic. You will learn to plan and manage time, people and resources to get the right outcome for your clients. You will learn to read your environment and understand what geology, topography and the ecology can tell you about the ancient and recent history of any archaeological site. You must be able to communicate effectively with people from different organisations and cultures to get the right outcomes for your site, your team and the project. An archaeologist also needs to pass on skills, techniques and knowledge to students, volunteers, and the wider community – teaching and training are a key part of any archaeologist’s role, as is a commitment to educating people about the past in an open, unbiased, and engaging way.
Despite my changing role I still take a lead in supporting Costain to engineer for archaeology and heritage and I love this element of my job because it is fantastic to see engineers and archaeologists work collaboratively to reach the best, most innovative solutions.