Longning Qi is full of confidence and feels very much part of her team having overcome the challenges of a new country, new job and getting to know workmates in the midst of a pandemic.
After completing her undergraduate degree in China, Longning moved to the UK to complete the first of two Masters degrees, one in Narrative Environments at Central St Martins, London and the other in Urban Design at University College London.
Longning’s first job was at WYG (now Tetra Tech) before following her line manager to Atkins, one of the world’s most respected design, engineering and project management consultancies, to grow the company’s masterplanning experience.
As part of her learning, Longning participated in Skills 4’s four-month positive action career development programme, THRIVE, an experience which she says was hugely beneficial to her role as Associate Masterplanner.
“Starting a new job in 2020 in the midst of the Covid pandemic presented a real challenge which THRIVE helped me to overcome,” said Longning.
‘When I started it was just me, working with loads of different consultants in other offices, so I found it very difficult to get to know my team, … but by doing THRIVE and having my Growth Group, we’ve created such a good working relationship and I’ve got to know more people.’
Longning said she struggled with her confidence and speaking up in calls when she was new to the team. She said: “The course was a forum where I could start to do that… talk to others and feel more confident.’
Outside of work, Longning has recently got into running and cycling. Following a bike purchase at Christmas 2021, she completed a London to Brighton Cycle for the British Heart Foundation in June 2022. She is now training for a half marathon in October 2022.
Longning also builds on her networking by organising building design socials. ‘Take everything seriously,’ said Longning, ‘regardless of if it’s a project or a social, you never know what opportunities these will bring to you.’
THRIVE includes a module on confident communication, including a checklist to help with difficult conversations, all with the purpose of improving confidence and assertiveness, helping our delegates to be able to bring their true selves to work.
‘The tools on the course influenced me naturally and all of the group discussions gave me the most amazing outcome to improve my confidence and my networking,’ she added.
Longning has no hesitation in recommending THRIVE and has some advice for those considering enrolling.
‘It’s like going to a physiotherapist, they won’t fix the problem, but they give you the exercises to go home and fix the problem yourself,” said Longning. “But if you don’t do it.. then you will still have the problems.. so, you have to stick to the exercises they give.
“Don’t come on the course thinking it’s a cure… you have the opportunity to make a change, but how to make that change is down to you. THRIVE provides the tools to help you succeed.’