The annual Women in Construction Week (WIC) aims to highlight the invaluable contribution women make to the construction industry.
Here at idverde, we’re extremely proud of the diversity of our organisation and of the contribution made by women across our business, in an industry that has, historically, been perceived as male-dominated.
To celebrate Women in Construction Week, we spoke to some of our female colleagues in construction roles to find out what a typical day entails for them, and if they have experienced any specific challenges as females working in construction.
Jo Hardingham, Estimator
Jo joined idverde in 2018 and normall splits her time between our St Helens and Cambuslang (Glasgow) offices. However, due to Covid restrictions she is currently home-based. having previously worked for a construction company. Jo graduated from Horticulture College in 1985 and has since worked in the horticulture industry in various roles as she loves being outdoors, creating things and watching plants grow.
I work from home currently, which means I get an extra hour in bed than I would when travelling to the St Helens office. (An extra 3 over travelling to Cambuslang!) My desk is set up in the smallest bedroom so after grabbing a compulsory cup of coffee it is straight to the office.
I use an Estimating package called Conquest and most of my time is spent at the computer, looking at drawings, specifications and bills of quantities. If there are no bills provided, I measure drawings, which is now much more accurate and quicker as it can be done digitally, no longer relying on a scale ruler. I send out to suppliers and subcontractors for quotes. Occasionally I get to do site visits or client meetings. I get a great deal of pleasure from pulling all the information together and creating a tender to be submitted. It is a great bonus if the hard work results in success and we are awarded the work. The good thing about working at home is that I get to exercise the dog, Sam, at lunch time, which is beneficial for both of us.
Visiting construction sites is a whole lot different now than when I first started when it was rare to find women in the industry and I was mostly greeted as ‘darling’ or ‘love’. Those days are well behind us now thankfully and nobody thinks twice about seeing a woman in a role that was once seen as a male-dominated industry. There is still a misconception about the more physical jobs and the ability of women to be able to undertake them. Having worked ‘on the tools’ for many years, it is a great way of keeping fit; now the heaviest thing I have to lift is my laptop! Everybody should be given a chance but equally there is no point employing a lady for the sake of it, it needs to be the best person for the role.
I would thoroughly encourage any lady to go into the landscape industry. It is the most rewarding industry. Find your niche and go for it!
Emily Kiernan, Operations Manager
Emily is based at our Leigh depot and has worked for idverde for 3.5 years, having previously worked for a construction company. She moved into a Trainee Operations Manager role while completing a Level 5 Operational/Departmental Manager course with idverde, before being made Operations Manager for our Housebuilder operations.
I have always had an interest in this industry that probably comes from a family who are in the construction business.
In terms of a typical day, no two days are ever the same in this job! Work begins at 7am getting the teams out to sites. I usually let the maintenance teams know a rough plan for the week at the start of the working week and then confirm this for definite as the week unfolds. Things are always fast-moving and plans change constantly so being able to adapt and think fast is a big part of the job. There are so many external factors that can impact a day (weather/sickness/van issues). These can never be planned for and we just have to react to them as they occur.
As the teams complete jobs, I then complete these on the system and collate their paperwork along with any pictures they have taken from the site visit together ready for invoicing.
We are a small team of Operations Managers in our office and we have landscaping, fencing, bespoke and maintenance teams running from this depot. We mainly deal with new build housing developers carrying out installations of show homes, installing both the landscaping and fencing, along with plot work for these sites as they are developed. We also carry out maintenance across numerous developers’ Sales Areas and Public Open Spaces (POS areas). This is the area I look after predominantly. I do the scheduling of the works, liaise with the clients, raise ad hoc quotes for work relating to these sites and then invoice the works once we have been to site.
It is always so busy that the days usually fly by! I work with great people and we all really get on (most of the time!)
I wouldn’t say there are any particular challenges relating to women in my job. I think women in the construction industry is the norm now. I think in the past there would probably have been judgement/misconceptions about females in this industry, but I think in the world we live in now the challenges of being female in this industry are minimal. If you are good enough for the job then I don’t believe it should matter whether you are female or male. I think it is an industry where you can’t take things too personally or to heart, but I would say that is the same for both females and males!
From everything I have experienced in my time doing this job and working in this industry women are on a level playing field with their male counterparts and I have never been made to feel any other way.
Rabia Maxamed, Lead Administrator
Rabia is based in Stratford, London as the Lead Administrator for our Landscape Creation services projects in the region. Rabia has been working in landscape construction for 18 months and believes it is a booming industry and a stable career choice.
A typical working day involves liaising with site teams to process orders and working closely with stakeholders and the local residents with any concerns they may have. I also help to organise community events to aid our CSR commitments. I also assist project managers in the coordination of the project including progress reports, CVR, budgets and recruitment.
I enjoy working with my colleagues and no two days are ever the same. Every day is a learning day and I have gained so many new skills. This job has also helped me gain confidence and improved public speaking ability.
I haven’t come across many challenges relating to being a woman, however I would say that there needs to be more representation of women in higher position. I would definitely recommend other women to pursue a career in construction as there are many opportunities available.
Tanya Wilsher, Regional Relationship Manager
Tanya has been with idverde for 3 years and is based in Northampton, covering our Housebuilder projects across the North of England.
Having previously worked for Barratt Homes I could see the impact public open spaces have on new communities and I wanted to have a greater impact on the end product of the play areas to maximise children’s health and increase time spent outdoors. I take great satisfaction in seeing one of our designs being installed and opened to the public. Seeing the impact our teams creation has on children’s health and social well being first hand is very rewarding.
A typical day involves taking my two kids to nursery and school (pre covid!), now setting them up with activities and home schooling to ensure I can maximise my time taking Teams meetings and giving presentations to clients on why they should use us for design to install.
My role involves visiting construction sites where typically there are more men than women, but we see more women entering the industry year on year. We have come a long way in the last decade, knowledge is taking precedence over gender.
Every day is different in this industry, you are learning and adjusting the way you work daily to suit your surroundings and the contribution you can make to biodiversity, sustainability and children’s health is endless.
If you’d like to join the idverde team, then head over to our Job Vacancies page for the latest opportunities in a range of roles across the business.