Wednesday 8th June 2022: It’s over 170 years since Richard Martin took the original John Sisk under his wing and nurtured him to become the success story we all know. Yet that sense of seeing potential in people, providing opportunities for them to develop, remains an ingrained part of the Sisk way.
Take Cristina Turcu, for example. Cristina arrived in the UK from Romania in 2017. She had no English, had planned to work for a while to get some money together and then return to her home country. The last few years, however, have turned out better than she could have imagined: “I didn’t believe I would succeed so well,” she says.
We first met Cristina back in September 2020, when she was just about to begin a Construction Management degree in John Moores University in Liverpool, supported by the company. She had worked as a cleaner at Circle Square since 2018, where staff helped her with her English. Such was the improvement that she then got a job on the project as trainee site administrator.
“I gained so much experience on the fantastic Circle Square and Affinity Living, two impressive projects that I had seen from the beginning. This helped me to develop my understanding of construction, learning more about environmental considerations and materials.” The next step was the decision to go to university.
“I started in 2020 but due to the pandemic we had to study from home, which was very challenging. I really enjoyed learning how to set out and all the more physical tasks as they helped me to visualise the calculations and processes.”
Cristina loves the combination of working and learning. “I am still working full time with Sisk which gives me the opportunity to put theory into practice.” She has just begun on new project Weir Mill in Stockport. “I started in the roles of the Health & Safety Site Administrator, Site Environmental Champion and Social Value Champion. I am looking to being more involved and eventually gain experience in tendering for subcontractors, as I worked on this Affinity with the commercial team previously.”
She has also enrolled onto NVQ Level 6. “So within the next year I will hopefully have a qualification which will enable me to get a black card,” she says. And the learning doesn’t stop there. After university, Cristina has her eye on a masters.
Reflecting on how far she has come since those early days as a cleaner on Circle Square, she says: “We all know that learning a new language is not the easiest, but it is not impossible, especially when you have help from the people you work with. Today I know what I want, what I can do and what people support me. I am so happy and grateful to have had this chance.
“My initial plan was to stay here for couple years to make some money and go back to Romania. After I met the Sisk team all my plans changed. I wanted to stay with Sisk as they have lots of fantastic opportunities and it is a nice environment to work in. Sisk have given me a stable job, allowing me to invest in my education and in my future.”
Photo: Cristina Turcu (right) with Christina Nichols at the Warrington office. The pair have known each other since Cristina began work as a cleaner on Circle Square in 2018