A 23-year-old trainee assistant site manager at a national housebuilder in Salisbury is calling on other young women to join the industry as she looks to build her career.
Gemma Owen, Bovis Homes trainee assistant site manager in Salisbury
Gemma Owen, who works at Bovis Homes’ Longhedge Village location, on Salisbury Road, said she was flourishing at the housebuilder as she learns from female role models in the company.
The gym enthusiast is six months into her trainee assistant site manager programme, where she is developing her skills within the build team, and hopes to work her way up to project manager level.
Gemma, who plans to undertake an NVQ course through the National House Building Council (NHBC), said: “Every day is very different out on site and I love it. There’s a lot of problem solving, so you’re never idle - there are always tasks to carry out.
“I enjoy working with people and I always talk to everyone to learn new skills. I’m learning from the trades in both the technical and build aspects of the job.
“In the housing industry, and with Bovis Homes in particular, there’s so much opportunity for progression and that’s really important to me. My goal is to be a project manager because I still want to be involved on site, while getting to the highest level I can within the business.”
Gemma has been working on Housing Association flats, handing them over, completing snagging lists, working on the finish of homes and also on Bovis Homes’ new property collection, part of Longhedge Village’s new phase.
She added that young women should not be afraid to join the housebuilding industry and undertake an apprenticeship.
“You need to be confident out on site because sometimes you need to challenge people, you need to ask questions,” she said.
“Not everything’s black and white in housebuilding and you may need to find alternative answers. You need strong organisational skills, to build a schedule and know what build tasks and projects are coming up.
“At college, I was interested in fine art, which gives you a good eye, particularly for snagging and similar tasks, but there are many other routes, including maths and science.
“It’s not always advertised in schools and colleges that these are skills and talents that can easily be used in the housing industry. Construction covers so many subject areas and if you’re interested in joining the sector, there’s likely to be a job for you.
“There are more women in the housebuilding industry now. I’ve never had any issues with being a woman or being young. It’s an open environment and everyone’s been supportive, it doesn’t matter what your background is or gender.
“We have female role models in the business - an area build manager in this region and another trainee assistant site manager - and that’s great to know. They’re great ambassadors for Bovis Homes who are paving the way.”
When she’s not on site, Gemma enjoys going to the gym, spending time with family and friends and she is also planning her upcoming wedding.