Whilst the number of women working in the UK construction industry is on the up, only 14% of construction workers are female, proving that in what is a very male dominated sector, more should be done to entice women into the house building industry.
In celebration of this year’s International Women’s Day on Sunday 8th March, luxury housebuilder Millwood Designer Homes is paying special recognition to the female members of their workforce. In particular, one of Millwood’s first female Assistant Project Manager’s, Charlotte Cox, offers an insight into what it is like to have a career in the house building industry.
Assisting in the overall project management of several sites across Surrey, Kent and Sussex, and successfully completing a two-year Masters degree in Quantity Surveying last July, 30-year-old Charlotte Cox comments: “My Dad was a clerk of works and worked in construction his whole life, so it was almost inevitable that I would follow in his path. I have worked with Millwood for five years now, my first role was Assistant Site Manager, after being awarded two promotions, I am now an Assistant Project Manager. My new role means I get to enjoy the best of both worlds – I am based at our head office where I have more of an overview of what is going on, more control over the financial aspects of the building process, liaising with sub-contractors and most importantly, ensuring the development is running to budget.”
“I am working on three current developments, Coppice End in East Sussex, Cherry Tree Lane in Surrey and Bakers Field in Kent, and one forthcoming site, Heartenoak Meadows in Kent. When I am out on site, I visit each development to perform health and safety inspections, monitor progress with sub-contractors and the build process and make sure that deadlines for handovers are being met. There is a lot to do, and the nature of my job requires a lot of diligence, but it pays off when you see a site complete – I really love my job”
Charlotte adds: “Whilst there are more women being employed in house building, the construction industry is still viewed as inaccessible for many women, and there is a perception that it isn’t the ‘done thing’ to work in this sector. I think this is mainly due to a lack of understanding about what roles are available within this industry – it isn’t all about being on building sites and using heavy machinery,
there are a variety of positions associated with house building. More needs to be done to give this industry exposure to young women, and educate the female population about construction. It should be part of every school careers fair, college prospectus’ and opportunities made available for work experience placements.”
Charlotte continues: “Being one of the only females on site means I can be overlooked by visitors who automatically speak to the male members of the team. When I introduce myself as Project Manager, it’s not always expected, but I have never experienced any negativity from anyone or amongst my colleagues, everyone is always very respectful. At Millwood Designer Homes, every member of staff is just that, a valued team member and they go above and beyond to provide plenty of opportunity to progress and further your career. As a luxury housebuilder, Millwood sets their standards high and attention detail is key. Employees are given the required training and skill set you need to accomplish the task, and everyone helps each other, we all play to own abilities and strengths.”
Charlotte adds: “My job certainly keeps me busy, but its also important to have outside interests, and for me I am a very keen runner! Millwood are not just housebuilders, as a company they are incredibly passionate about the local areas they build in, and always get involved with local sponsorships and charities, which means we all get lots of opportunity to participate in other events. I am currently in training for the Manchester Marathon on 5th April, and as part of my training I will be running the half marathon at the annual Maidstone Road Run for one of our local charities, The Heart of Kent Hospice on Sunday 8th March – also International Women’s Day! It is tricky fitting in all the running but I’m really looking forward to raising money for a worthwhile cause.”
Charlotte concludes: “I think we are definitely moving in the right direction with regard to more women moving into construction, but there is still a way to go before we can consider house building. I am really looking forward to continuing my career with Millwood, progressing further, expanding my knowledge and helping the people I work with to build the best houses we can.”
Nick Stonley, Managing Director at Millwood Designer Homes comments: “We are really proud of our whole team at Millwood, and International Women’s Day is a fantastic platform to celebrate the influence our female employees have added to the house building industry, and not just those at Millwood, but across the country. It is great to see that more women are taking up roles within construction, and Charlotte is a shining example that with hard work, motivation and passion, you can be successful in whatever career you choose.”