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08 March 2023

International Women’s Day 2023: Construction is a career for everyone

Read four personal accounts from women across our business as we celebrate the role women play in making Tilia Homes and our industry great.

This International Women’s Day we’re celebrating by shining a spotlight on the pivotal role women play in the workplace, especially in the traditionally male- dominated industries, such as property, housebuilding and construction.

Here we speak with four women from across our regional offices to find out more about why they chose to join team Tilia, what they find the most rewarding and challenging about their roles and their advice for the female workforce of the future.

Rebecca Hudson is our Northern Finance Director and has spent 18 years in the construction sector and has made her way up the career ladder since starting as an assistant accountant in 2005.

I think the biggest misconception about women in construction roles is that we’re only working in the office. So many of us are on site every week, if not every day, in the elements alongside the teams to ensure we’re working as a well-oiled machine.

The great thing about this industry is that there isn't really a typical day and this variety is what I really enjoy about the role. There is, of course, structure to the role in terms of both weekly and monthly financial reporting but outside of this the role is about providing accurate and timely information to enable constructive challenge to the rest of the team and ensuring that all our forecasts and budgets have been stress tested.

I work very closely alongside the regional MD while also supporting the rest of the regional senior management team, external business partners and other functions within the business by providing data, information and statistics to help drive business efficiencies.

This International Women’s Day I’m taking a moment to reflect on my career to date and feel proud of what I have achieved having worked my way up in the business.

Lisa Deadman is our trusted contracts manager for our Western regional team. She’s developed her full career in construction in many roles and champions the challenges and rewards for women in this fast-paced sector.

The construction industry offers so many opportunities for women, I started my career as a painter/signwriter completing a four-year apprenticeship with a Devonport Royal Dockyard. My role was very diverse from gold leafing ships crests to working within the building maintenance department applying white lines to the roads.

My first step into construction working on site was when I started work as a material controller, I then progressed into the role of assistant site manager, which was a great opportunity. I then spent a large part of my career as head of customer leading a team of co-ordinators and maintenance operatives.

More recently I have been given the amazing opportunity to use my strengths to become a contracts manager enabling me to find solutions to more complex projects and to help make an impact. I love the fact that every day is different and throws at me a different challenge which has enabled me to become a more resilient problem solver.

I am proud of my team and the homes we build. The sense of achievement you feel is second to none.

Quantity Surveyor in our Eastern regional office, Vicki Etheridge, has eight years’ experience in construction after happily finding her way by chance into the sector.

It’s important to make the job roles known to young men and women during the school years and promote that there are roles for everyone within the industry and not just men. Women play a vital part in the business and can bring different skill sets to men that can push the business forward. Promotion to those in school would be the first step. For women in the industry support can be as simple as ensuring all employees get the same support and men aren’t favoured over women for promotions and the like.

My advice for women looking to pursue a career in the industry is to not be afraid of the speculations that are around the industry as being male dominated. There are many opportunities that will draw on the interests of most people, such as those who may be financially minded, those who have good money control, those who are interested in the planning/designing of a project and those more practical and hands on with building and selling.

This year I am personally celebrating my own achievements throughout my career from admin through to surveyor and looking forward to completing my degree later this year which will make me fully qualified.

With 13 years’ experience in construction, our Central regional office is in the safe and expert hands of finance manager, Sarah Barlow, who is proud to be a working mum who’s progressed and gain qualifications throughout her career.

My career in construction started in 2010 when I joined Tilia as a Trainee Accountant. Since starting my GCSEs I was passionate to become an accountant and was grateful that someone had given me the opportunity to pursue my chosen career path.

I have also taken two maternity leave periods, before thinking about starting a family I was nervous and anxious that I would still have a job when I came back and if I would fit back into the department and how I would be able to balance work after becoming a parent.

Being a busy working mum, its important I make sure I have a good work life balance but also able to have a good career too. Having a daughter, makes me even more determined to show her the importance of a career, and encourage her to work hard and pursue her dreams

Even though my job is sometimes very challenging it is also very rewarding. This also wouldn’t have been possible without a great manager and team behind me.

Thankfully, throughout my time at Tilia I have seen the industry change where more women are being employed and taking up roles in construction.

If you’d like to join our talented team, head to our careers page to see how your path at Tilia Homes could progress.

Women's day blog 8.3.23

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