Changemaker spotlight: Meet Michelle Ajene, the next generation of construction project manager

Built Environment Change Maker's Michelle Ajene represents the next generation of construction project managers.

Michelle (2)

In today's rapidly evolving built environment, collaboration and digitalisation have become key in driving success and efficiency. One of our Built Environment Change Makers Michelle Ajene, who is undertaking a Masters in Project Construction Management, represents the next generation of professionals who are harnessing these elements to revolutionise the field. Michelle is already emerging as a trailblazer, exploring how an integrated digital platform can improve collaboration on projects.


Collaboration and digitalisation in construction management


Collaboration lies at the heart of effective construction management. Michelle recognises this and believes that a building information model (BIM) integrated tool can enhance this essential aspect. As part of her Masters studies at Northumbria University, Michelle is researching a digital platform that allows project partners to access and share crucial building information.


Of the tool, Michelle said: “It compiles building information into a digital platform that everyone can access from anywhere. The project management team can see it and get information from it and then everyone else that is part of the project - the structural team, the mechanical team, the architectural team - has access to that same model. I can input information at anytime, so the programme updates all the partners."

This real-time collaboration minimises errors, reduces rework, and improves overall accuracy, resulting in cost-effective and efficient project delivery. Michelle Ajene

Making connections


When Michelle’s not working on collaborative tools, she’s collaborating with industry.


Michelle's journey has been significantly influenced by her active involvement in professional societies such as the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the Association for Project Management (APM) and the Built Environment Change Makers (BECM). These associations provided her with valuable networking opportunities, inspiration, and access to industry insights. The support she received from professionals helped her develop her dissertation topic on implementing economically sustainable housing through innovation and technology.


She also notes that engaging with BE-ST through BECM has helped her learn more about various aspects of the built environment. BE-ST inspired Michelle to explore themes like modular housing, the fabric first approach and Passivhaus as part of her dissertation. In this she highlights how these approaches contribute to economical and environmentally friendly housing solutions – and can be done in balance with and be enhanced by efficient project management.


The changing sustainable landscape


Michelle envisions that the next generation of project managers will be instrumental in transforming the construction industry. As sustainability and environmental consciousness take centre stage, professionals who specialise in these areas will be in high demand. She believes that new careers and job roles will emerge, offering opportunities for experts in sustainability, green buildings, and lean construction practices. Furthermore, the industry's growing focus on diversity, equity, and time management, along with the rise of remote work and international collaborations, creates new avenues for specialised roles within project management.


Michelle says that a key trend in construction project management is being able to maximise value while reducing waste – both from a sustainability and a cost perspective.


“My challenge now is blending into this new industry and carrying on these new methods of collaborating with new teams.” Michelle Ajene

Question to industry


Despite all her achievements, Michelle acknowledges the challenges that lie ahead as she transitions back into the industry.


When asked what she would like to ask the sector as she prepares to re-enter it, she responded about knowing how members of industry go about balancing work and personal life, given the demanding nature of various roles in the construction industry.  


A changemaker


Michelle Ajene exemplifies the next generation of project managers, characterised by a collaborative attitude, digital acumen, and commitment to sustainability. She is also taking what we talk about at BE-ST right into the industry and running with these ideas.


With a passion for making a positive impact on the industry, Michelle is poised to shape the future of construction management and inspire others to follow in her footsteps.


If you or someone you know is a future Scottish masters student looking to receive funding for the next academic year, read more.


If you are looking to find out more about the Built Environment Change Makers, read here.