Now in its 47th year, International Women’s Day 2022 is taking place on Tuesday 8th March, promoting a world of gender equality and less discrimination. One industry that is still perceived as largely male-dominated is the construction sector. Tackling this stigma, Exeter based developer Burrington Estates employs a number of women in dominant roles, encouraging women into the industry. Here, Katie Wells, Michelle Mitchell and Natalie Tucker explain more about their roles at Burrington Estates, and why more needs to be done to encourage women into this rewarding sector.

Katie Wells joined the Burrington Estates team in September 2020 as an Assistant Site Manager, most recently being given the responsibility to oversee build of her own site – The Heaths in Illogan. She comments: “I chose to join Burrington Estates to develop my career in construction, as I admired the quality of the product they produce and their carefully considered customer journey. As a woman working in the construction industry, I can definitely say I have been given the same opportunities as a man would in a similar role, most recently being trusted to run a site on my own, to start working my way towards becoming an established Site Manager. A managerial site role has traditionally been male-dominated, so I was expecting some resistance from the male site managers that are already established, but I can honestly say that I have not met any resistance from the male workforce at all.”

“I feel that the construction industry in general is moving forwards, and we are making really good progress in terms of employing women into construction roles. For example, I would say that it is probably an equal playing field for roles such as Quantity Surveyors now, but I do think there’s substantially less women in roles like mine. I think that comes down to making more women aware of the range of job roles available to them in the construction industry – it is not just trade roles, there’s so much more that goes into building a house!”

“For a Site Manager role in particular, you need a certain mentality including resilience, problem solving and drive to succeed in delivering high quality homes. If you have these skill sets, whether you are female or male, you will be right for the job. It’s so rewarding when you get to the end of a site, and you have really happy customers. I really do think that it needs to be a person’s way of thinking that suits a job role, rather than their gender.”

Michelle Mitchell’s love of technical drawing at school led her to pursue a career in the construction industry, before joining Burrington Estates as an Estimator in 2020. She comments: “I studied technical drawing from a young age which I really enjoyed, this developed my interest into gaining construction qualifications, including a degree in civil engineering, which led to me later qualifying as a chartered civil engineer. I first worked within consultancy, and then moved into a technical role for a housebuilder. From there, I decided that I wanted a more well-rounded knowledge of the costing process in its entirety. This then led to me amalgamating my skill set into the role of an Estimator. My day-to-day responsibilities include following projects from potential purchase including pricing land opportunities, all the way through to site, where I provide value engineering and lend my knowledge of groundworks. The majority of potential sites come through me.”

I think things are definitely moving forwards in terms of women working in construction-led roles. Instead of the field being predominately male, now people are employed on the basis of who is right for the role, rather than choosing a male over a female just because it’s the ‘norm’. I would really recommend a career in construction for any woman interested in the industry. The gender barriers aren’t there anymore, so you really can pursue a career and progress in this field if you want to.”

With a background in sales, Natalie Tucker joined the Burrington Estates team in 2018 as the first Sales and Marketing Director for the South West region. She comments: “As a woman who has built a career in the industry, I am proud to work for a company which not only hires women in construction roles, but employs women based solely on their own talent and merit, valuing the essential insight women bring to the company and to the construction industry as a whole. Burrington Estates goes even further by providing women with the opportunity to achieve success through offering training and support, giving women at the company the tools to thrive and achieve their career goals.