A spotlight on female professionals in the Construction Industry

Women in the Construction Industry

The construction industry is among the largest industries in the UK. According to the Office of National Statistics, construction output increases year on year. The demand for skilled professionals in the housebuilding sector is also ever growing and The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) has reported that the industry will need to find 157,000 new recruits by 2021. With the UK government setting a target of building 300,000 new homes a year, it is even more important to make the industry more attractive for young people, including females.

The construction industry has become an inclusive industry and more and more women are choosing a long term, successful career in construction. Sylvia Wheatcroft, 34, is Logistics Manager at Lee Marley Brickwork Ltd (LMB), she says:The industry is now more diverse, there are no barriers for senior positions and it seems more companies are looking for a greater diversity within the workplace”.

 

How to Get into the Industry

Apprenticeships – Apprentices do a mixture of hands on work experience on the construction sites as well as written assignments which include attending college/training sessions whilst still getting paid.

Colleges and University – Investigate college courses if you’re interested in more hands-on roles, for example labouring, carpentry, bricklaying, electrical and plumbing. If you’re looking for a managerial role such as Site Manager, Project Manager, Quantity Surveyor, Building Surveyor and Surveying Technician then a university course could be the answer you’re looking for. Many UK colleges and Universities offer courses within construction. If you already work full time, then evening courses or the Open University are an excellent idea.

 

Daniela Perciog, 35, joined the team at LMB as a Trainee Quantity Surveyor, she now works full time as a  Brickwork Quantity Surveyor. Daniela chose to attend University on a part time basis to allow her to get a fulltime job in the construction industry while studying for her degree. She holds a BSc (Hons) in Commercial Management (Quantity Surveying) and MCIOB (Member of the Chartered Institute of Building).  She comments: “This was the best thing that could happen to me, building my experience on construction sites whilst studying for my degree”.

 

Take as much opportunity as you can to be out and about

As for many starting a new career can be daunting and the more time spent on site the greater the understanding of how the job is built. Take the opportunity to attend client meetings with senior members, this will increase your confidence and help build your skillset.

 

Have resilience, set your boundaries early and stick to them

As we know the construction industry is a predominantly male environment and for ladies embarking on a career in construction, the best quality to have is resilience. Daniela comments: “We all know that the construction industry is a male-dominated industry and from experience, as soon as you can prove that you know what you’re talking about, you gain respect from the entire workforce. I also believe that it’s important to set boundaries early and stick to them.”

 

Join a professional body

Working in construction industry allows you to learn a variety of skills that you can apply to your day-to-day and offers great opportunity to progress and develop your career. If you’re on a construction-related degree, you can choose to join Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyor (RICS) or the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB). The professional body you join will depend on what you study and in which field you hope to work once you have graduated. So, if you are interested in construction you should go for it! The roles on offer can appeal to so many skills from architects, surveyors, site managers, Health and Safety and the list can continue.

Dovile Jokimciute, 35, is a Health, Safety & Environment Manager at LMB, she is very happy to see more ladies proudly joining this industry and hopes to encourage this growth. She comments: “Times are changing, including old habits and mindsets. Women should not fear. They should follow their dreams”.

 

Top Tips for Women Looking to Get into the Construction Industry

  • Take the time to complete the right courses, the skills and knowledge you will learn will help you progress your career
  • If you’re on a construction-related degree, join a professional body such as Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyor (RICS) or the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB)
  • Take as much opportunity as you can to be out on the construction sites, on the job insight will give you real in-depth understanding of a build
  • Have resilience, set your boundaries early and stick to them
  • Take the opportunity to learn all the new skills on offer in the construction industry, never be afraid to expand your knowledge and skillset

 

This is an extremely varied industry and offers something for everyone – from carpenters, plasterers, bricklayers and plumbers, to surveyors, engineers and project managers. The wide variety of roles and projects creates many opportunities to progress and workers are regularly presented with opportunities to learn new skills and move up the ladder into different roles.

Lee Marley is currently looking to recruit graduate surveyors and construction managers for their 2021 programme. If you would like to apply, please send your CV and a covering letter to jobs@leemarley.com

 

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