Dafni Varthali is a Remediation Scientist with Keltbray, she has been with the business for 5 years. Originally from Greece, Dafni came to the UK to study Environmental Sciences before starting her career in construction.

Earlier this month, we had the opportunity to sit down with Dafni and ask her about her role and what advice she would give to someone just starting out.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I cannot wait to travel again. During lockdown, I started watching physics science documentaries and have since become obsessed with the subject. And whilst I had a good excuse to stay indoors watching my favourite program and try to understand how the universe behaves, I now cannot wait to spend my time outdoors exploring new places! My first destination would be the seaside as I have missed it a lot and then I’d probably head north.

Tell us about your role with Keltbray

I work for the technical team as a Remediation Scientist and my time is split between technical tender reviews and live projects.  A great deal of my time is spent on live projects, which means I’m based on site, overlooking and delivering technical tasks over the course of the project, ensuring remediation objectives are met and that works are carried out in compliance with environmental legislations.

How did you get into construction?

I studied Environmental Sciences at University which is quite broad. When I finished my studies I wasn’t sure what path I wanted to follow – I never considered construction at the time! Shortly after I finished studying, a recruiter called me about a job at Keltbray which was quite local to me. One of the operations managers from Keltbray’s Remediation division then called me and explained the position and asked if I wanted to start straight away, so I took a chance and said yes! I was completely clueless about construction to begin with but I received great support in the form of training from the business and I’m glad I took the opportunity.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

Working on something where you can follow its progress up to the point of completion is both exciting and rewarding. I enjoy the fast-paced environment, and being part of a team that work collectively towards the successful delivery of the job. It certainly keeps me engaged and motivated. I also think it’s a great opportunity for exposure and improving someone’s skills.

Working on site also means you get to interact with people at all different levels. The people on the ground carry great responsibility and for me, it’s important to establish good relationships with people working across all areas of a project.

What advice would you give someone starting out in construction?

Follow your instincts and give yourself the chance. The good thing with this industry is that there are a huge range of jobs on offer and it’s not restrictive. You are exposed to a range of roles and there’s also flexibility, meaning you’re not limited and you can change your career path at any time. I would say if it’s something that interests you then go for it!

What would you be doing if you weren’t in construction?

I always thought I would get involved in environmental resource management in vulnerable communities, possibly working for an NGO spending time in the field. I always wanted to do something outdoors so it worked out well that I ended up in construction.

Do you have any long-term goals?

At the moment I’m focussing on my short-term goals with Keltbray and want to get as much as I can from my role. I’m trying to understand as much as possible both within my job and within the business in general, aiming for self-development and improving my career prospects.