Our Woman in the Field interview series showcases inspiring women who work in field careers. This month, Gement had the opportunity to interview Emily Reding, a bright and highly skilled trainee site manager working at Higgins Partnerships in Essex. Head of Programmes at Gement, Rebecca Rickwood, caught up with Emily to learn more about her story and experiences in the industry.
Gement: What is your official job title and where do you work?
Emily: I am a trainee site manager and I work for Higgins Partnerships. Our head office is based in Loughton, Essex but I am currently working on a site in Great Wakering. Being site-based means that you have the opportunity to work in different places all over the country.
Gement: How did you get into construction?
Emily: I have always had a creative side and a passion for the built environment. At school, I studied resistant materials at GCSE and product design at A Level, which led me to seek work experience with a couple of architectural practices. This helped me to realise that I would prefer a more construction-based career, and from this, I applied to the Higgins Management Trainee scheme. The degree-apprenticeship route had appealed to me more than full-time university as I had worked through school and sixth form in part-time roles and enjoyed the working environment, and an apprenticeship would guarantee me 5 years work experience and no student debt.
“…an apprenticeship would guarantee me 5 years work experience and no student debt.”
Gement: How would your friends describe you in 3 words?
Emily: My friends would probably describe me as outgoing, confident, and friendly.
Gement: Did you face any struggles in your progression in this field?
Emily: Despite the construction industry being very male-orientated, I have found that being a woman in construction has not negatively affected me in any way. There are many incentives and opportunities for women to progress within the construction industry, and I am aiming to reach a senior management position within the next 10 years.
Gement: What are the biggest misconceptions about working in construction?
Emily: A few come to mind when thinking about common misconceptions in construction. One that I have already touched on is that the construction industry isn’t a place for a woman. This is far from accurate, and more and more females are joining the industry in traditionally male roles.
Another misconception is that working in construction is dangerous. Again, this is an outdated myth due to the standards of health and safety that we adhere to, and the thorough inspections from both internal and external parties.
Finally, a common misconception is that construction work is unskilled and low-paid. Construction workers actually have to complete extensive training and qualifications in order to work on-site and are well paid even from trainee level.
Gement: What are your thoughts about Gement and our educational programmes to raise awareness about career opportunities in construction?
Emily: I think that the work that Gement do to raise awareness about career opportunities in construction, especially for women and the BAME community is important. We need to address the inequalities that still exist within construction, and be mindful of our impact on the environment and work towards sustainability goals.
Gement: Where do you see yourself 5 or 10 years from now?
Emily: In 5 years, I will have completed my degree in Construction Management at London South Bank University and be a fully qualified site manager. In 10 years, I hope to have progressed into a more senior management role and oversee projects of a larger scale. My passion for construction comes from wanting to transform communities through building new infrastructure and changing the lives of families.
“We need to address the inequalities that still exist within construction, and be mindful of our impact on the environment and work towards sustainability goals.”
Gement: What are some of your hobbies outside of work?
Emily: I like to keep quite active outside of work, which for me includes training at the gym 4 to 5 times a week and going on long dog walks. I also love to try new restaurants with my boyfriend and explore different cuisines. Shopping is also one of my hobbies, but I try and limit this so that I can afford to go on lots of holidays every year too!
Gement: What are 3 things you can’t live without?
Emily: I can’t live without my dog, my car, and my phone camera!
We hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of our Women in the Field Series. If you work in the construction industry, and think you could contribute positivity to our series, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.