After graduating in English, Luke Rodgers spent two years touring with his sister’s band. Then the corporate world called and he joined PCSG’s Content and Communications team where he helps major organisations to promote and explain their capabilities and solutions.
He talks to us about supporting fast-paced projects, the rock-star life – and the impact of office closures on those just starting out in their careers.
Q: How did you get into this role?
A: After graduating from the University of Liverpool, I worked for a while in communications for ROCKWOOL International – a first foray into the construction industry. When the opportunity arose, PCSG seemed like an obvious next step and somewhere that would give me exposure to some bigger names.
I’m in the Content and Communications team but I work alongside our Digital team who are helping organisations to embed digital techniques and practices in the management of their assets.
The team are leading experts in the digital construction field and I really enjoy building up my knowledge and learning from them.
Q: What does your work involve?
A: I help our clients to explain and promote their solutions and capabilities. Sometimes that’s in bid writing (pitching to win work on a big project), sometimes in video production and editing and sometimes in writing text for websites or press releases.
Some of the subject matter is quite complex and technical. I need to have a clear understanding of it and then be able to write about it in an engaging and precise way.
When I’m working on bids, that might involve a stint of some weeks or even months being embedded as part of a wider team in a client office. I have to build up relationships with the technical experts and understand how to ensure that I effectively utilise their time to gain the necessary information to answer the questions we are presented with.
Working with different clients and on different projects means I get a lot of variety.
Q: Highlights so far?
A: I worked with Balfour Beatty on communications relating to their mobilisation of a multi-million pound Network Rail contract. It was an intense, fast paced assignment that involved quick thinking and long hours. It felt like such an achievement when we completed, and we had such great feedback.
Q: What skills does the job require?
A: You need to be someone who isn’t fazed by having to tackle complex subject matter and large volumes of information. You also need to be able to work quickly, to be adaptable and be good at slotting into new environments and organisations. You also need to be willing and enthusiastic about doing whatever is thrown at you.
Q: What have you found most challenging?
A: In the early stages of working for PCSG, working for larger clients as part of an integrated bid team was quite challenging. Having no real subject matter expertise and learning the technical elements required to formulate a comprehensive tender submission was very difficult within short timeframes. Equally though, it’s this challenge and the sometimes frantic nature of the work that keeps it interesting and enjoyable; I get to meet new people and learn about different aspects of the construction industry every day.
Q: How was the Covid-19 lockdown for you?
A: It’s been a strange four months or so. I’ve definitely felt the effects of not playing sports in my usual capacity, and there are only so many Zoom quizzes you can do with your mates… But on the whole, it’s been bearable, with work carrying on pretty much as normal and the additional time in the evenings (not spent commuting) allowing me to learn to play the piano. I’m not very good at ‘sitting still’, but have just had to make do.
Q: Do you think graduates will lose out from the move to a more home based working environment? Do they gain more from the office environment than other groups?
A: I would definitely say so, yes. I think graduates look for companies that provide a good balance of interesting work and regular social events. Also learning about the job just through being around people in the office is so important at the start of your career. It’s small things but they go a long way, and I’m not sure how well that translates when working remotely.
Q: You are also a musician?
A: Yes – my sister, Hannah, and I have been musicians from a young age. Hannah went to the Brit School and was then offered a record deal with an American label: 4AD. At this point she (moniker ‘PIXX’) was a solo artist, but her music was becoming more band orientated. I was her first recruit.
For the next few years, we toured around the UK and Europe fairly regularly, with one gig in New York thrown in there, too. It was an absolutely incredible experience – one which I did not realistically expect to have – both in terms of playing music for a living and seeing places I would never otherwise have visited.
One particular stint away supporting a Canadian artist, Austra, was my personal highlight: sharing a double-decker tour bus between the bands on a 7-week trip around Europe with a gig pretty much every day. We would finish a gig, pack up, jump on the bus and sleep through the night, waking up somewhere new to do it all over again every day. Absolutely surreal.
We’ve played at Glastonbury too.
Q: Who or what has had the most influence over your career and why? Have you had a key influence / role model?
A: Growing up and during my time at university, being an aspiring musician, my biggest ‘idol’ was Bob Dylan. But in terms of influence on my career, I think loads of things come into it. Friends, family, education – the list would go on.
In three questions…..
Apple or Android? Apple, every day.
Exercise regime? Lots of it – involving a ball I can kick wherever possible.
Favourite food? Tapas.
For more information on the services offered by our Content and Communications team, please contact our Operations Director, Simon.Cunnington@pcsg.co.uk