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International Women in Engineering Day: Victoria Thursfield, Account Director

OCS Team

OCS Team

21 Jun, 2024

International Women in Engineering Day: Victoria Thursfield, Account Director

Victoria Thursfield, in her role as the Account Director on OCS’s Government Property Agency (GPA) contract, holds a pivotal position overseeing critical sites for the UK government. Notably, she is responsible for managing key locations. Victoria’s career spans diverse industries and countries, and she has worked with high-profile clientele. We sat down with Victoria to delve into her professional journey thus far, exploring the factors that have shaped her career as a woman in the challenging field of hard services.

Victoria’s entry into the facilities management (FM) business was serendipitous. Her career trajectory began in the catering industry, with a graduate job at Compass and a stint at the food chain Pret-A-Manger. Her rapid ascent within Pret-A-Manger led her to establish the business in Hong Kong, where she spent three years. “We needed to be quite self-sufficient because you didn’t have the support of the UK business. I think that was a good grounding for then working in FM,” she recalls.

Upon her return to the UK, Victoria’s CV found its way to the desk of a managing director of a leading FM business. This marked her foray into the FM world, where she initially managed the retail sector. As she gained experience and made her mark within the company, she took on more accounts, eventually leading her to engineering, marking a new chapter in her career. Despite not being an engineer herself, Victoria pursued an interest she always knew was there. “My father is a civil engineer, so I think there’s always been a bit of interest there,” she shares.

Victoria has spent a total of 19 years within the FM industry, strengthening and developing her expertise, and building a strong network. She joined OCS in October 2023, where she now oversees the technical services contract for GPA. She thrives on the dynamism of the FM industry, stating, “No day is ever the same.” On joining OCS she says, “I’ve now been here six months and I can tell it’s ultimately about the people, OCS say people are at the heart of what they do and that feels true, you know, OCS delivers its values throughout. Despite my short time here, I feel like my voice will be heard, which is quite comforting. To be so new in a significantly significant sized company, I still feel I have influence and will be listened to and that’s a valuable thing.” She also particularly enjoys setting up new teams and developing people, a task she is currently undertaking on the GPA contract.

However, Victoria’s switch to engineering has not been without its challenges. As a woman in a male-dominated field, she often found herself the only woman in the room. Despite this, she credits her supportive and receptive teams for helping her navigate these challenges. She remains hopeful and proactive in recruiting more women into hard services, working with social value practitioners and attending career fairs to promote hard services as a career option for young women.

In her current role within the hard services division, Victoria is excited about the future of OCS. “I think we have some very challenging and ambitious targets and it’s quite an exciting time to join,” she says. She wants women curious about hard services to know that there’s nothing stopping them from diving in. “It’s not all about knowing how a fan coil unit works, or what happens in a plant room, it’s about not being afraid to ask questions,” she advises.

Victoria’s journey is a testament to her resilience and adaptability. From her early days in the catering industry to her current role in FM, she has consistently demonstrated her ability to thrive in new environments and take on challenges head-on. Her story serves as an inspiration for women looking to break barriers in traditionally male-dominated fields.

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