Kim Butler, assistant site manager at Linden Homes’ Montbray development in Barnstaple is the epitome of the #ChooseToChallenge theme for International Women’s Day (8th March). The theme encourages everyone to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality, celebrate women’s achievements and help create an inclusive world.
Originally from South Africa, Kim owned a construction company with her husband but when they moved to the UK in 2000, she struggled to get back into the industry. Commenting on the challenge, she said: “I just couldn’t believe how difficult it was, we had our own company for 15 years but I just couldn’t get back into construction and I’m sure it’s because I was female. I’d see other men, with less experience, get the job and it was just heart-breaking.
“I started a cleaning business, spent time working in America and then on my return to the UK in 2010 I was offered an opportunity to sell new homes, which enabled me to get back on a construction site in 2017.”
Kim, 59, lives in Ilfracombe with her dog, Jackson and joined the company four years ago. She is responsible for assisting the site team at Montbray to ensure the new homes are delivered to a high quality, on time and on budget. This involves helping run the site, overseeing the different trades, health and safety paperwork plus on-site checks, and meeting with customers.
Kim added: “I found it very frustrating and difficult to get back into the industry, even with all the experience I obtained working for myself. However, challenging misconceptions has been a rewarding experience. It’s brilliant to be back on site, I’ve found everyone to be respectful and it’s great when they realise your capabilities. I don’t want to be singled out, just part of the team.
“I work closely with the sales consultants and having done their job I appreciate how much information is required to ensure everyone is kept updated and the customers’ needs are met, so this has proved invaluable.”
Construction director, Gareth Neale, said: “It’s terrible to hear that Kim faced such a challenge to get back into the industry and it’s testament to her perseverance and passion for the job that she is now where she wants to be. However, it should never be that difficult. International Women’s Day provides a fantastic opportunity to address the balance in the workplace and while we have a lot of female staff in other departments, we’d love to see more women on site, especially if they have the same tenacity at Kim. We are lucky to have her skills and experience and hope more women will consider a career in construction.”
Kim has five children and in her spare time she loves cycling, wild swimming, travelling, baking and longboarding,
The theme for International Women’s Day in 2021, as Kim has shown, is #ChooseTo Challenge. For further information visit www.internationalwomensday.com
Contact: Emma Mackay, Linden Homes, 077383 12960; firstname.lastname@example.org
08 March 2021
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