From Harrods to Hard Hats


Annie Summun is the Director of Kisiel Group, a London construction firm that works with private clients and developers to deliver high-end projects. With over 35 years’ management experience in different sectors, Annie’s focus is on promoting excellence and best practice in the construction industry.

From the marbled floors and golden lights of Harrods, to concrete slabs and dry wall, I haven’t followed the traditional career trajectory of a construction company director.

But I’ve always had roles where I’ve been dealing with people face-to-face. I started out in the retail industry, having undertaken a management training course at Harrods. I then retrained in accountancy and ran my own firm for a while, which eventually led me to get involved with Kisiel Group, working on the accounts. It was my first foray into the world of construction and I only wish I’d found it sooner.

As Kisiel’s Director and a National Board Member of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) I’m really keen to encourage more women into construction.

Kisiel is now really focused on promoting diversity. We changed our structure so that our procurement is now conducted by project managers, one of whom is female. We try to keep a 50/50 split between men and women in our office and on our management team. If there are skilled women who fit the bill then we want them on our team. At the end of the day, you want the right person for the job and the best team in order to grow your company.

I’m also really keen on training and developing Kisiel’s employees, that’s why I applied for CITB’s Skills and Training Fund.

We received £5,000 in 2016 which allowed us to hold tailored learning sessions with our office team and site managers. These touched on construction theory including ‘soft landings’ – a strategy designed to ensure the smooth transition from construction to occupation for the client  and ‘lean construction’ - maximising value and minimising waste throughout the project lifecycle.

Last year we received a further £5,000 and are using it to implement practical training for lean construction on Kisiel sites, improving productivity and creating a ‘no blame’ culture – when something goes wrong, we find a solution. And whenever we conduct training we always get the whole site involved so that everyone benefits.

As a result of the training, Kisiel will be more efficient and effective, doing more and more with less time, space and equipment.

I wanted our team to be better qualified with specialist skills that will boost their careers and help our business grow. CITB has supported Kisiel for many years providing us with the essential funding for building a good, qualified specialist team.

The Skills and Training Fund was set up to support small employers to deliver construction training. CITB-registered employers with up to 99 PAYE staff can apply for up to £10,000 every 12 months. To download an application form or to find out more about different CITB Funding opportunities, please visit citb.co.uk/funding

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