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Working Lives UK: Site manager

Ryan Geldard is certainly making his mark on his home city. As an assistant site manager for BAM Construct UK, Ryan has already worked on some major Leeds projects, but his current role is changing the city sky line and has got everyone in the city talking.

The Leeds Arena, set to open in 2013, will be a 13,000-seat, purpose-built concert venue, five minutes walk from the city centre. For Mr Geldard, projects like this are the very reason that he sought out a career in construction.

Mr Geldard, 23, is flourishing in his chosen career despite tough times for the construction trade in the UK. He sees his success as a vindication of his decision to leave school at 16 to attend building college. Despite good grades, he knew he didn't want to take the conventional route to university. He comes from a family of Leeds builders and, at the time, construction was booming.

"I think some of my teachers were disappointed but I knew what I wanted to do," he says.

His job is to be the eyes and ears on the site and to make sure that all the different contractors and specialists are all working to the same plan. He earns £22,750 (US$35,000) on top of which BAM are now paying for him to attend Leeds Metropolitan University, where he's reading for an MSC in building site management.

Free from the shackles of student debt - a contentious issue in the UK after the introduction of higher fees last year - Mr Geldard is looking forward to the future.