Expat Corner - with Andrew

Around the world as a Project Manager


A seasoned and well-travelled construction professional


How many Countries have you travelled to / worked in?
Saudi Arabia (3), Caribbean (3), South Korea (1), Seychelles (3 now live there), Mauritius (1), USA(3), France (6), Thailand (1), India (5), Bangladesh(1), Iran (2), Iraq (3), Afghanistan (1), Abu Dhabi (3), Dubai (12), Nassau (1)..

Tell us a bit about yourself Andrew, What has your career path been?
Well my career was basically unplanned as I was looking to go totally in a different direction for a career, until I met an ex headmaster who had just taken over his father’s company, of whom spoke with me and offered me a full apprenticeship in MEP, once taking up his offer I have never looked back. It’s been hard but if it were easy everyone would have been doing it.

Which has been your favourite?
Well all really as I know what you shall say no way! It’s not only about the country (not a tourist) as I have seen expats turn up within a few days then leave as they didn’t like it! I look at it as I have a job to do and first off I usually meet the team of contractors etc get to know the country and the people usually very fast as I have to work with them, I have had some really great times in all countries and have some great friends that are still friends to this day.

When you were a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
(Smiling to myself now) I always wanted to be a deep sea diver, looking at that now my careers adviser (in school) advised that was not a good career then basically was driven towards the construction industry. 

What is the best part about working overseas?
First-hand experience with the country and culture (off the tourist routes) the people not always a good first meetings due to the poverty in some countries and may come to a shock to most people ,but in general the country and meeting the people. 

How did you get into this industry, was it a conscious decision or did you fall into it?
It was not so much as a decision or falling into it? It was more a requirement of the industry when / where I grew up, not much need for deep sea diver in midlands (being land locked) apprenticeships was more the norm.

What does a typical day as consist of for you?
Meetings, coordination of the works / making sure the contractor / client understand their roles responsibilities, duties, QA/QC etc. but this may seem simple to working in UK ,but there is always the understanding and language barriers, etc.

When did you first decide to test the expat lifestyle and where was your first trip?
It was more an opportunity being in the right place at the right time more than actually being planned! I was offered a position as a MEP hands on in Saudi Arabia, so I took the opportunity and well enjoyed my first expat position I had taken. (Sept 17th 1979)

What is the best part about your job?
The sense of humour that all have when it’s stressful works and resolving the issues; especially when there is a language barrier, meetings especially.

If you could change anything, what would it be?
Salary ... no nothing really. I have had and met some great people and learnt from them as much as they have learnt from me, I have seen some great countries and been to some great sites unseen by others