Youngest MCIOB: building was embedded in me since birth

Conleth Smyth MCIOB
Conleth Smyth MCIOB: “I’m a firm believer that experience is more valuable than a degree”

The site engineer with Gilbert-Ash is the youngest ever chartered construction manager at age 22.

What made you choose construction as a career?

I was obsessed with Lego as a child. My father was a bricklayer and would take me to private jobs as a kid and I loved helping. I think building has been embedded in me since I was born.

Although I got good grades, I felt university wasn’t a great option for me – especially during Covid.

After learning bricklaying and setting out, I wanted to study engineering at university. But before I started the course, I was offered a job with Gilbert-Ash in engineering/management and I haven’t looked back. They have looked after me and have put me through every course I have asked for.

What made you pursue chartered status so early on?

I knew if I achieved chartered status people would put me in magazines! In reality, I wanted a professional qualification that didn’t involve years of study.

I’m also a firm believer that experience is more valuable than a degree. I know I’m miles ahead of others coming out of university that have never set foot on a site.

Having chartership status also commands more respect from the older generation that think young people are useless!

What are your career goals?

The sky is the limit. I would need a few more pages to list all my goals. I’d like to climb the ladder at my current company and gain more experience in commercial management.

Other than that, I’d like to help younger guys understand that university isn’t the only route in life. I have a few mates that didn’t see any other option and chose courses they had no interest in just to experience the ‘uni life’. I completed an NVQ L6 in a few short months which is the same level as a bachelor’s degree.

Outside of my current role I’m aiming to invest in property and get a few developments over the next few years.

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