“I get some shocked looks when people realise I am in charge. It feels so empowering”
12 Sep 2022

“I get some shocked looks when people realise I am in charge. It feels so empowering”

As a trainee assistant site manager with Vistry Group, Carmen Vatsadze is one of the growing number of women defying stereotypes to rise through the ranks of the construction industry.

Only last year, the 51-year-old joined the company as a Covid cleaner. Now she is on the path towards becoming a fully fledged site manager with the national housebuilder.

Carmen, who works at the Orchard Green location in Aylesbury, where Vistry is building under its Linden Homes and Bovis Homes brands, returned to the UK in 2020 after almost two decades overseas.

She had lived in France with her husband Irakli for 14 years, bringing up four children together before Irakli sadly passed away in May 2016 following a long battle with leukaemia.

To continue supporting her children, Carmen started an apprenticeship teaching English in France, but she moved back to the UK with her children in August 2020 after meeting her partner Adam.

After moving in with Adam and his three boys at their home in Reading, Carmen struggled to find work during the pandemic. In April last year she begun working as a Covid cleaner at Vistry’s Shinfield Meadows development in Shinfield, before taking on the additional role of administrator in August that year.

And it was in May this year that her manager Mark Allen at Vistry Thames Valley saw the potential, drive and determination in Carmen which resulted in her being offered a job as a trainee assistant site manager.

She is currently studying for a Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Construction Management, as well as taking several different courses covering areas such as scaffolding, health and safety, and customer care.

Carmen added: “I hope to become a site manager of a Vistry development one day. I am training hard, and I always do everything to the best of my ability. My motto is to always leave things better than how you found them. I believe it is so important to constantly push yourself and try new things; it has given me a whole new lease on life.

“It is a privilege to have been given this opportunity. There are very few women in this industry. Most of the women work in sales or offices, but it is important to see more women in the construction side of things too. I get some shocked looks when people realise I am in charge. It feels so empowering.”

Carmen believes it is important to keep the workforce balanced, adding: “People are very protective and respectful of me as a woman in construction. My contracts manager looks after me well. He fought for me to get this job and showed that he believed in me. So far, my experience has been really positive.

“This is certainly a career I would like to continue doing for many years to come. It has so many layers and so much variety. I never get bored and although it can be stressful, it is a fun type of stress. I am most excited about taking on a project and seeing it through from start to finish.”

For more information about careers with Vistry Group, go to https://www.vistrygroup.co.uk/careers.

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