Housebuilder urges more women to take up a career in building


More women should consider a career in the buiding industry, says housebuilder Barratt Developments Yorkshire.

Two of its Assistant Site Managers –  Kerry Bracken-Chalmers and Sarah Trundle – have shared their experiences and career path, which led them to leaving previous lines of work to manage some of the busiest sites in the housebuilder’s Yorkshire West region.

Kerry Bracken-Chalmers is based at the St John’s Walk development in Hoylandswaine, where she has been an Assistant Site Manager for the past four months. “I made a major career change from civil servant to management apprenticeship with Wates Group in 1997, after building up the courage to take a step into construction,” she says.

“I always wanted a career in this industry, however I was steered away from it at school, but I couldn’t be happier I made the move. As a woman in construction I feel we do have more to prove, especially as my role is traditionally male-oriented, but it has never been a problem for me. Changing perceptions can be difficult, but you have to start somewhere. I would encourage the next generation of women not to let themselves be pigeonholed into certain careers, as the industry will suffer if it is blocked from extended skillsets.”

Sarah Trundle is an Assistant Site Manager at Barratt Homes’ Evolution site in Rotherham. “After training and working as a carpenter for a number of years, mainly building theatre sets, I began working with Barratt carrying out repairs on sites before becoming interested in a Managerial role. After learning more about what would be involved, I decided that I wanted a challenge and to experience a role unlike anything I’d ever done before. After learning more and more about the role of a Site Manager I knew it was time to take the leap and I’m so glad I did. I am now responsible for day to day planning, keeping on top of the progression of the work being done and ensuring health and safety at the development is in line with the law. I also aid the technical team in overcoming any problems that may arise during a project.”

“I’ve worked in male-dominated industries since finishing my apprenticeship but have never experienced any discrimination. I remember being a little shy on my first day, but that soon disappeared. The guys on site are more interested in why I want to do the job, rather than make it difficult for me to complete tasks.  It’s important to get more women involved in the industry; gender-oriented roles are a thing of the past and the more women that get involved the less we have to justify ourselves for doing what we love. “

Ian Ruthven, MD at Barratt Developments Yorkshire West, commented: “At Barratt Developments we want to work with the very best talent, regardless of their age, gender, faith or background. There’s a substantial need for housing in the Yorkshire West area and our aim is to deliver homes to communities around this area. We welcome a diverse workforce to help us do this and hope we continue to see this diversity expanding across the many areas of our business. We’re proud to champion women in the construction industry and are glad to have people like Kerry and Sarah as part of our team.”

Kerry and Sarah are just two of many women working in construction roles at Barratt Developments Yorkshire West. They are amongst 56 others in the company, including Charlotte Shaw, Engineer; Sarah Marsh, Technical Co-ordinator and Jenny Purple, Land Manager.