Verity Moorhouse, shares insights on what it’s really like to work as a KTP Associate and why you’re ‘set up to win’!

Name Verity Moorhouse

Company name Sevenoaks Modular / Hale Construction (Supplier of modular timber frames for construction)

University/KB Name Cardiff Metropolitan University

Your Highest Qualification MSc Product Design 

Hear Verity and colleagues from Sevenoaks Modular talk about their KTP experience here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6LnDUDvahg&t=893s

See the latest KTP Associate vacancies here.

What attracted you to the role of KTP Associate

The KTP acts as a perfect transitioning step from education to industry. I was attracted to the goals of the project and values of the company, but also the comfort in knowing I would have additional support and resources from the university throughout the project.  

What have been the most positive aspects of your role?

One of the most positive and rewarding aspects of my role is being able to see first-hand the impact my work is having not only on the company, but how this could have a larger impact from an environmental and sustainability perspective. 

Working in a large company within an industry as large as construction means everything is magnified, small mistakes can become large ones, but equally little wins can become big wins when a design change on one house or one manufacturing process is replicated within hundreds of homes across Wales. Knowing you have made a positive impact not just financially, but environmentally, is a great feeling. 

What are your KTP project’s objectives?

Pioneering expansion of prefabricated components and transitioning into sustainable modular construction. Embedding a Hale Innovation Management System (HiMS), with a Holistic Feedback & Optimisation Loop (HFOL) for transparent cost appraisal/reduction, and product performance enhancement (golden threads). 

What have been the biggest challenges?

I think for me one of the biggest challenges has been just trying to learn and absorb such a vast quantity of new information surrounding timber frame and modular construction in order to then apply this to my existing Product Design knowledge and research to achieve the outcomes required. 

Sometimes it can be challenging as a graduate to have enough confidence in your own ideas to enable you to instil confidence in key decision makers; however I have a very open minded and ambitious team surrounding me who never fail to support and guide me in the right direction. 

Have there been any unexpected experience/s / outcome/s of your role? If so what? 

Although I had read and understood the project plan prior to taking on the role I still didn’t really know what to expect. I certainly didn’t expect to have two academic papers published and present at an international conference within my first 18 months, or to be starting my professional doctorate in the Sustainable Built Environment, thanks to support from the KTP Team. 

I am lucky to have such a diverse role, which means that while themes and goals remain the same, every day is different and I have found myself embedded in a large array of tasks which have helped to broaden my sector knowledge significantly in a very short space of time. I wasn’t expecting the outcomes of some of my research to have such real time impacts on large business decisions such as the purchase of new machinery and development of new processes. It’s great to see research being physically brought to life!

What training and development have you benefited from as a result of working as a KTP Associate? 

I have benefitted for a multitude of training experiences whilst being a KTP Associate, most of which are listed below:

  • Ashorne Hill KTP training – These training courses were a great few days where we were able to meet other KTP Associates, and share experiences. The courses were hands on, interactive workshops which covered topics such as teamwork, project management, creative thinking and other skills to help set you up for a successful KTP partnership, but that could also be applied to many other personal and professional situations. 
  • Toyota Lean manufacturing programme
  • BM Trada – Timber frame for engineers course 
  • Airtightness training course
  • THERM – an introduction to calculating thermal bridges
  • Revit – CAD software training from the University’s Architectural Design Technology team
  • Lean Six sigma Green belt training / qualification
  • Build desk U value calculation training. 
  • I also travelled to Belfast in Ireland for the KTP conference which was a fantastic experience where we were able to share and learn from each other’s KTP projects and experiences. 

How would you describe the unique experience of working as a KTP Associate

Being a KTP Associate is a fantastic opportunity to kick-start or build your career. You will be ‘set up to win’ with a multitude of tools, training and funding to enable you to succeed in your project goals whilst also meeting your personal development aspirations. 

As a KTP Associate I have been able to develop solutions to real-world challenges that have been utilised for positive change within the company. Having overall responsibility for your project goals can be daunting at times, but having the additional support of university researchers and staff is an invaluable resource to help push you in the right direction. This is something that is unique to KTPs and acts as the perfect stepping stone from academia to industry. 

Would you recommend the KTP Associate role to other grads/post grads? Why? 

I would 100% recommend KTP Associate roles to others. As mentioned previously, it’s a great way to transition from education to a full time industry position (which can be a very daunting prospect as first), 

Having a project with clear goals to work towards allows you to track progression and witness the positive impact you are having on the company, the university and your own development. The personal development budget is a fantastic opportunity to build on your skills & gain further qualifications to support your long term career aspirations.

Which 3 words best describe your experience of being a KTP Associate?

  • Rewarding
  • Empowering
  • Exciting

Want to work as a KTP Associate? Find out more here and see the latest vacancies here.

This project is co-funded by Innovate UK and Welsh Government.

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