When Heidi Wood decided to give up a career in the legal world for early mornings on a cold building site, she was as surprised as anyone!
But 15 years later, not only is Heidi still working in construction, she's just joined one of the UK's major house builders to take on a brand new role in the company.
Heidi, who lives in Cheltenham with her husband Stuart and two children Morea, eight, and three-year-old Bella, is part of a newly assembled team at Bovis Homes, ensuring properties are of the highest quality when they are handed over on move-in day to customers.
This certainly isn't where Heidi, saw her career going when she was a student at Cheltenham College and then the University of Gloucestershire.
"While I was studying for my law degree, Stuart, then my boyfriend, set up his own construction firm, and while he was growing the company, I would help with paperwork and invoicing," she explains.
"One day, Stuart was let down and needed help on site. I volunteered, grabbed my safety gear and set to work. It was so much fun, I loved being hands on, and was immediately hooked. Over the next few years I helped more and more and got increasingly involved in the building side of things."
Heidi was so taken with the building trade, that when she completed her degree, she decided to pursue a career in construction full time. Fast forward a few years, and she is playing a key role in Bovis Homes' ongoing drive to deliver quality for its customers.
"I first worked with Bovis Homes as an Assistant Site Manager through an agency, alongside my husband, who also works for the company. It was while in this role that the company asked me to consider a new role as a Quality Control Inspector," she says.
In her new role, Heidi, is responsible for ensuring a smooth handover to the customer from the construction team, and making sure that any snags are dealt with as quickly as possible. It is part of a renewed focus for the business on customer experience and quality. Heidi is responsible for Bovis Homes' sites in Gloucester and its Homelands location in Bishop's Cleeve.
"This is a really exciting role," she says. "Bovis Homes is a great company to work for and there is a real desire among the team to deliver people their perfect home. I'm looking forward to getting to know our customers in Gloucester and Bishop's Cleeve and playing a role in helping them settle in to their new Bovis Homes.
"I think my legal background will also serve me well in this role - ensuring all the relevant policies, procedures and regulations have been followed is key. I have recently completed an NVQ7 in Construction Senior Management, which I'm looking forward to applying in my day-to-day work."
Women are generally under-represented in construction, making up around one eighth of the UK workforce, but Heidi has no issues with working in what can be a male-dominated world.
"While gender diversity in construction is poor, I can honestly say that I have not encountered any challenges from working in the industry - I think that Bovis Homes is leading the way and that the sector in general is showing it has moved on from past stereotypes," says Heidi.
The fact that her line manager is also female makes the point well, and Regional Customer Care Director Ruth Copeland is delighted to have Heidi on board.
"I met Heidi after she started working on our development in Oxford. I soon realised that she has excellent customer service skills and had a great eye for quality. Just the person I needed on my team," says Ruth.
"Heidi has been in her role as Quality Control Inspector for only a few weeks and is already making a difference."