Register your interest

Women in Construction Week 2024

Jasmine Gray, 28, is a Construction Site Manager for Barratt Homes Bristol, currently overseeing a 120-home development at Wichelstowe in Swindon. She took five minutes out of her day to share her journey onto the building site, and why Women in Construction Week - celebrated across the UK from March 3rd to the 9th - matters and makes a difference

There were plenty of surprises along the way for me. The first, perhaps, how at home I felt in construction. I was on a rotational graduate scheme at Barratt Homes Bristol and started in sales thinking that would be my long-term role (my degree was in business entrepreneurship). But I had the chance to spend two months in each department and when I got on site and put on a hard hat I immediately thought, I can see myself here. The second surprise was how everyone else who worked on site made me feel at home.  The reception was way better than I'd anticipated. You imagine a very male environment and you'd be right, but it's tempting to assume men won't want you in their space. I found the opposite. The team were so supportive and really proud of the work they do and, what's emerged, is a brother/sister type relationship with my colleagues. We're all there for each other. Last surprise is how others don't get it. People visiting from outside the company will often ignore me and speak to the male in the office first (even if he's younger or wearing scaffolding gear). Then they have to tell visitors I am the site manager. And if I'm the only person in the office when visitors arrive, they'll almost always ask where the site manager is. So some education to do...

I believe education is key to this. A lot is changing,  but there's still some work to be done showcasing options to girls at school. When I was thinking about careers after school, I never knew construction could be a choice. It was never suggested to us.  Awareness Weeks like this one are great for challenging stereotypes, and for showing the progress you can make in construction and the salaries you can earn.  And for signposting companies like Barratt Bristol who are incredibly inclusive and supportive of women working across the division.  I loved it that on the last development I worked on we were based near a school, and I could see girls clocking me on site as they walked by. It was good to give this career the exposure, even in a small way.  I'd encourage anyone who is interested to visit the organisation hosting Women in Construction Week at https://nawic.org/ and, if they're keen, contact a housebuilder and see if they can shadow a role to find out more. 

There is definitely an advantage to having a diverse group of people on every team. Everyone working here brings their own talents to the table, and the straight-talking nature of a construction site really suits team working. I know this role suits my skills and strengths. I am good at multitasking, prioritising, playing devil's advocate and helping the team see a different point of view. When you're creating something for diverse communities then diverse ideas, experiences, perspectives and opinions matter. They add value to our way of working and what we create.

I love driving past communities - busy and full of life - and knowing we've helped create them. It's an amazing feeling and so satisfying. Seeing new customers choose a home and then move in is like watching dreams come true. This will be the fourth development I've seen through from start to finish and it's incredibly exciting.

 

 

Women in Construction Week has been hosted by the National Association of Women in Construction for over 25 years, celebrating and promoting the role of women in this sector.  This year's theme - Keys to the Future - celebrates the strength and knowledge of women and the vital role they play in shaping the future of the construction industry. At Barratt Homes Bristol there are over 60 women working to secure and develop communities across the region. "We are completely committed to and incredibly proud of what women bring to this company," says their Sales Director Andrea Pilgrim. "But as Jasmine says, there is work to do promoting roles in the industry for women and girls seeking out opportunity. We're especially excited about the work we're doing with schools where we're based, inviting classes onto site so they explore not only house building and sustainability, but roles in the industry they might want to explore."

 

To find out more visit https://wicweek.org/#about-wic-week and to read more about opportunities at Barratt Homes visit https://www.barrattcareers.co.uk/locations/south-west

Women