International Women’s Day

5 March 2018

South Wales homes developer marks International Women’s Day by highlighting inspirational role models 

Cardiff-based partnership homes developer Lovell is marking International Women’s Day (8 March 2018) by highlighting inspiring female team members as part of its continuing drive to bring more girls and young women into construction.

Although the construction industry as a whole remains male-dominated – national figures show that women make up only 13 per cent of the construction workforce - over a third of employees working for Lovell in South Wales are women. The business is also led by a woman, regional managing director Kate Rees, who says there has been a major shift in attitudes since she began her career:

‘There should be no barriers to women working in the industry’

“It has been great to see the changes that have happened and more women coming into the business, particularly in site roles. There should be no barriers to women working in the industry and we welcome applications from women for all roles. For us, the important thing is recruiting the right person for the job.

“We put a major emphasis on training and work closely with schools and colleges to help young women and girls understand what the opportunities are within the industry. It’s also about individuals from our organisation promoting the work they do. We want everyone to reach their full potential and encouraging team members to be role models and inspire others is an important part of this.  It helps encourage younger women to consider construction careers and also shows people already working for us where they can take their careers.  I would encourage any young women to get in touch to see what we can offer. It’s a great industry to be in, you have the chance to make a difference and leave a lasting legacy – that is exciting!” Forthcoming events where Lovell will be inviting women and girls to find out more about construction careers include Keeping it Equal – the largest girls’ careers event in Wales - at Cardiff City Stadium on Monday, 26 March.

In South Wales and the South West, women work for Lovell building and planning new homes across the region, both on site and in office-based roles.

Handover quality manager Katie Bagley, 37, is part of the company’s site team at The Mill in Canton, west Cardiff, where her role is to monitor the build-quality of the 800 homes which Lovell will build through one of Wales’ largest regeneration programmes.

She says: “From work colleagues’ attitudes to welfare conditions, things have changed in leaps and bounds since I began working in the industry 18 years ago. When I first started on site as an 18-year-old, there wasn’t even a female toilet, they had to bring one in specially! I’d never envisaged going into the industry, I was studying drama and art at college, but my dad works in construction and I ended up doing a summer job as a labourer on one of his sites as no one else applied for it. Then I was offered a place on a trainee site management programme and that’s where my career started, at the time, I was told there was only one other woman in South Wales working as a site manager. It never bothered me being the only woman on site and I found once men had got over the surprise to be working alongside a woman, they were fine with it.

‘Attitudes have changed and more doors are open’

During her 18-year career, the 37-year-old, from Swansea, has worked as a site manager on new homes developments across south Wales. “Attitudes have changed and more doors are open now. When I was at school I remember asking about career options in construction and the careers adviser laughed at me. Lovell is the first company where I have worked to have so many women in high positions and it’s inspiring to think where my career could go.

“It’s a fabulous industry. What I like most about the job is the satisfaction that goes with building a home for someone – there is nothing better than being part of that. Sometimes I think we underestimate what we do. I was out with my two children, Lola, who’s ten, and seven-year-old Sam and we went past a development and I told them, ‘mum built those and they were in awe – I thought, that’s quite cool.”

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