From dreams of Broadway to designing beautiful homes
13 September 2021
Rachel Fitzpatrick was all set to follow her childhood dreams and carve out a career in musical theatre when a summer work experience at our West Scotland office changed the way she looked at the world – and the buildings in it.
Since childhood, Rachel had loved acting, dance and music, so working in the arts seemed to tick all the boxes when it came to a satisfying career choice. But things started to change when she took on a work experience role with Persimmon Homes West Scotland:
“Suddenly I discovered a passion for housing and design. It engaged a different part of my brain which I found really satisfying and exciting. Now when I’m out and about I can’t help but look at houses and buildings. I’m fascinated to see how design impacts the overall build and I love to think about how a project could be improved. It’s a very creative process – very different from the performing arts but creative nonetheless.”
Now with a career in design engineering firmly in her sights, Rachel has recently achieved her HNC qualification in addition to ‘the day job’ and will continue her studies in September by moving on to university to study a BEng Civil Engineering.
“Working with Persimmon not only ignited the fire in me for building and design, but the company is committed to my development as a professional engineer,” said Rachel. “It’s a wonderful opportunity – they have been inspiring me and supporting me from day one.”
Rachel’s boss, Technical Director Craig Watson, backs her to make a big impression in the industry. He said: “Although this type of work was not on her radar until relatively recently, Rachel shows a great aptitude for building design and engineering. Her passion is evident, and she has progressed extremely well since joining us. There is no single pathway to working in this business. We are open to people from all backgrounds with all types of life experience. I believe that makes us much stronger as a company and as an industry.”
Juggling studies and work makes for a hectic schedule but that’s something Rachel is relishing, especially as there is such a strong link between the two. She said: “I am lucky to be with a company that is extremely busy with many great developments going on in the west Scotland region. I’m learning so much on my course and I am able to put this into practice with my role. But working in the office and on site also gives me so much insight that you just cannot get through studying alone.
“It is a real challenge to fit everything in but it’s a fantastic opportunity and I am loving it.”
As if all this were not enough, Rachel is also in training for the London Marathon in October. She is running as part of the RNIB World Free of Barriers Team, as her mother has a progressive eye condition meaning her vision will be permanently affected. Rachel is keen to ensure that the excellent support her mum has received is available to all others with sight loss. Rachel raised £6,000 for the cause two years ago and hopes to raise a further £10,000 this time round. To support her efforts, visit her JustGiving page here.