Collins Nomafo, Assistant Quantity Surveyor

Collins Nomafo, 31, is a National Grid Assistant Quantity Surveyor and a volunteer at the London Power Tunnel (LPT) Project’s school engagement programme. During this past summer, he took on the role of a digital mentor during the programme’s virtual work experience initiative. We talked to him about why he gives up his time to spread the knowledge on STEM careers.

Born in Italy and raised in Ghana, Collins has always been a gifted student. He was told from a young age that a medical career was the only path to success. With that mindset instilled in him, Collins moved to the UK as an 18-year-old to pursue an undergraduate degree in medical physics. But as Collins’s knowledge in the medical field grew, his interest in becoming a doctor faded.

At the same time, Collins was introduced to the construction sector and quantity surveying. He was naturally drawn to the field as it put his problem solving and analytical skills to better use, and he went on to self-fund his studies in quantity surveying. In Sept 2020, Collins joined National Grid as an Undergraduate Junior Quantity Surveyor, and he has since been promoted to an Assistant Quantity Surveyor.

To Collins, a career in STEM and construction offers a diverse range of opportunities, and he’s glad he chose surveying: “No two workdays are the same. It’s such a dynamic environment and it’s immensely rewarding when you can physically see important infrastructure being built and what difference these projects make to the community.”

His journey to identifying the right career for himself inspired Collins to reach out to the next generation and become involved as a volunteer. Through National Grid’s partnership with MyKindaFuture, the UK’s leading underrepresented talent specialist, he joined LPT Project’s school engagement programme.

The partnership aims to engage 100,000 pupils in some of London’s most disadvantaged areas and inspire them to consider careers in STEM. According to research carried out by National Grid, the energy sector needs to fill 400,000 roles before 2050 to meet net zero goals, and the programme looks to support this target.

National Gird is also committed to reduce its own direct greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. National Grid is also supporting the reduction of emissions that aren’t directly within its control – it is doing this through initiatives such as energy efficiency programmes to help customers reduce energy consumption in their homes, or incentivising our supply chain to reduce the carbon impact of construction projects by including carbon weighting in our competitive tenders.

“It’s all about education and showing the next generation how everybody has a unique career path, and it’s up to them to choose theirs,” Collins said.

“I want to show these students what they can achieve in STEM and how engineers are vital to tackling world issues such as climate change and assisting our common goal of achieving net zero.”

“The enthusiasm these young people showed during the virtual work experience week was so refreshing. I received over 150 messages from 12 students through its digital platform, and sometimes they were asking questions even I didn’t know the answer to! This level of engagement actually inspired me to continue devoting more time to educating the younger generation about STEM careers.”

In celebration of Tomorrow’s Engineers Week, National Grid is sharing Collins’s story to highlight the importance of the role of engineers in realising a net zero future and driving the meaningful engagement of the next generation in the energy and construction industry.

Collins Nomafo