A recent NHBC Foundation report has revealed 12% of the UK’s house building workforce is female, with the majority in secretarial or administration jobs and less than 4% having a skilled trade role. With the demand for skilled workers on the rise, house builders will need to do more to attract women into what is often considered a male-dominated sector. In celebration of International Women’s Day on 8th March, award-winning home builder, Countryside is paying special recognition to its’ female employees and women shaping successful careers across the house-building industry.
Samantha Simmonds (26), is an Assistant Quantity Surveyor, who joined Countryside just over three years ago. Samantha explains: “I started in construction at the age of 18, after deciding to leave a Sport and Coaching degree at Oxford Brookes University, as I discovered it wasn’t the career for me. My sister, who works in the civil engineering sector, secured me a job as an Administration Assistant and I’ve never looked back since. Construction is a demanding industry and offers so many varied career opportunities. I soon progressed to Commercial Assistant, however, my aim was to become a surveyor and I was determined to reach this goal.”
“At Countryside, I started as a Technical Administrator, because I didn’t have a QS degree. However, after a year they offered me a fantastic opportunity on the graduate scheme where I could experience the different sectors in the business and learn each role to decide what was going to suit me individually. I finished in November 2016 and am now three months into being an Assistant Quantity Surveyor. I absolutely love it and it’s definitely a challenge but that’s exactly what I wanted.”
Samantha continues: “I would say the industry is constantly changing for the better and has already improved considerably. There are a lot more women in different roles within Countryside, including site managers, which is great. I can’t express how much Countryside has encouraged and supported me, giving me an excellent opportunity to take part in the graduate scheme, even without a degree. I’ve learnt so much in the last three years thanks to both male and female mentors at Countryside who have taught me invaluable knowledge.”
Recently promoted Development Manager, Emma Hewitt (29) working at the Kings Park development in Harold Wood, has also been with Countryside for just over 3 years. Emma says: “After studying Architectural Technology at Sheffield Hallam University and a Masters in Urban Design at Westminster University, I was fortunate enough to be accepted onto the graduate scheme at Countryside. I was attracted to Countryside by the company’s attention to detail and emphasis on design, as having an architectural background, I wanted to work for a company that appreciates architectural value and design. Personally, I love the variety of my job role and being able to see a project from start to finish.”
Emma is pleased to be seeing the industry change to welcome more women. She says: “When I first started at Countryside, I worked predominantly with male colleagues. However, in my current department, there are now more women than men which is very unusual. I have definitely seen more ladies getting involved, especially within Countryside’s graduate scheme. None the less, I don’t think working within the construction industry is promoted as much as it could be or enough emphasis on the different roles available within the house-building sector. It is a great career option, with the potential of countless opportunities and I believe more should be done to promote working within the industry to both school and university leavers. ”
Graham Cherry, Chief Executive of New Homes and Communities at Countryside, comments: “At Countryside, we are extremely lucky to have an incredibly talented and diverse team that are committed to creating the very best places to live. International Women’s Day is the perfect opportunity for us to celebrate the significant contribution our female employees make to our business. We will continue to encourage, motivate and support all our staff, to ensure that they enjoy a rewarding career in the house building industry.”