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Nalin Seneviratne

Advisor - Local Government & Regeneration

As a teenager…

I was never focussed on studying at school. I had a good group of friends and preferred cycling around Merseyside and beyond on my bicycle. I was free on my bicycle and did a lot of dreaming about what the future might hold. I was no good at sport but had to do something so took up swimming and cross country running. My parents had big ambitions for me, I felt that I let them down at the time. I did not do well in the sixth form as other things were on my mind. I left school not knowing which way to turn. My passion for bicycles took me to Frankfurt in Germany, where I had the option to live a life recycling and upcycling bikes. However, I thought that going home and trying to do some form of higher education might be a better option. I dug deep to think about what it was that fascinated me and realised that either construction or engineering were options to investigate.

After school…

I decided that the construction industry was the one for me. So, I managed to get a place to do construction studies at Bristol Polytechnic. I re-discovered my love for the piano after hearing a jazz band in Bristol and took some jazz lessons. My passion for cycling turned into one for buildings and the built environment. I became curious as to how the industry worked and wanted to be good at what I did. I discovered a new passion – learning! So, at last something interesting made me want to learn more. My managers were also very supportive and helped me to succeed. So, I did my university degree while working. That was tough, however, I enjoyed it and did another degree after that, also part time. After starting work as a surveyor, I went on to manage construction sites, became a project manager and ended up in business development and marketing. I finally ended up a director of a major construction company. Then I decided to do something very different and joined the public sector. I now had the opportunity to deal with whole cities rather than just individual buildings.

I loved my time working for Plymouth and then Sheffield City Councils. It is a privilege to work for local government as you become so involved in so many different aspects of life. I learned a lot dealing with various community issues. I ended up creating a new city project in Sheffield which took up eight years of my life and the outcome is there for all to see today. It is great seeing people live in, work in, play in and visit something that you created.

Now I’m…

Enjoying life, retired from the public sector and running my own small consulting business. Still keeping a hand in the industry. Where I can, I use my experience and knowledge gained over the years to help others. I am trying not to work too hard but spend a little more time with the family and do a little more dreaming as I did while a teenager.

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