While the construction industry has come a long way in achieving a more diverse and equal workforce, the Chartered Institute of Building reports women still only make up 15 per cent of the industry, with approximately two per cent working on site.
At Bovis Homes’ Bay View development in Northam, there is a welcome change to these statistics with a strong female site team comprising an electrician, carpenter, apprentice assistant site manager, senior quantity surveyor, buyer, area sales manager and sales consultant.
Grace Holton, 28, is a senior quantity surveyor and works on the development of 130 new properties off Bay View Road. She commented: “It’s good to see things have changed from when I first started working in the industry 10 years ago. People would assume I was on site to sell the homes and they’d be really surprised to hear I was the surveyor when I corrected them. Fortunately, the situation is improving all the time and I know the statistics will gradually change.”
Jenna Bowman, 19, is a carpenter with Phil Deare Carpentry and followed her dad into the trade. She commented: “I was pleasantly surprised to see how many women were on the site team but I do find it sad that it’s something that’s noticed. I look forward to the day when there’s an even ratio of men and women on every development and it’s no longer a topic of conversation.”
Talking about the challenges women face, Emma Bundy, 22, apprentice assistant site manager said: “As a female, I have seen bias. I was once told by a teacher that I’d never do as much as a man but that encouraged me to prove him wrong and I will continue to support other women to challenge these misconceptions. My site manager, Ollie and the rest of the team are brilliant and it’s fantastic to work in such a safe, supportive environment.”
Annabel Halstead from Merton is 24 years old and is an electrician with Clarkson Evans. She added: “I hope more women choose construction as a career path to help address the balance – it’s a great place to work.”
Also in the team is Tarryn Lowth, 38, who has worked as a buyer for eight years; Rachel Eke, 27, a sales consultant; and Beverly Rickard, an area sales manager who has been in the industry for 22 years. She said: “Although I’ve been in housebuilding the longest, I was fortunate to start my career in a small family business which was very supportive to women. It’s not all been plain sailing, there were times in my career when I had to battle to be heard, which was so frustrating, but I feel lucky that times have changed and I work for a company that supports and encourages women.”
Vistry Group, which builds Bovis and Linden properties, places a strong emphasis on addressing the imbalance and has an active Diversity and Inclusion working group and committee, which promotes equality and represents minority groups throughout the business. 34 per cent of the workforce at Vistry is female, compared to the industry’s 15 per cent average.
Sales and marketing director, Emma Smith commented: “It’s fantastic to see a high female presence at Bay View and I hope more women are inspired to join the housebuilding industry with its diverse range of jobs – from engineering manager to land buyer, marketing assistant to site manager.”
Bay View features an attractive collection of two, three, four and five bedroom homes, along with areas of green open space and a play park. Located in an elevated position, the development looks towards Barnstaple Bay and Lundy Island, with Westward Ho!, Bideford and Clovelly a short distance away. For more information visit www.bovishomes.co.uk
References to “we”, “us” or “our” are to the part of the Vistry Group (including Linden Homes, Bovis Homes, Countryside Homes, Drew Smith, Vistry Ventures or one of Vistry’s joint venture companies) from which you are intending to purchase a new home. References to "you” and “your” are to the prospective buyer or buyers of a new home from us.
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