To mark International Women’s Day (8th March), we look at what encouraged one assistant site manager to join the construction industry…
When Kat Simpson’s family built their own home when she was just 10 years old, she was immediately interested in the process of housebuilding – the materials, flurry of activity and how the diverse range of trades worked together.
It’s perhaps not surprising that Kat, 37, is now an assistant site manager at Linden Homes’ Church Walk development in Newton Abbot. Commenting on her love of construction, Kat said: “I enjoyed watching our family home being built and was completely absorbed in architecture and housebuilding from that young age. We didn’t live on site but we would go every day to see the progress that had been made and I loved the idea that it was a legacy, a little piece of you that you left behind.”
Kat lives in Hatherleigh near Okehampton with her partner. She said: “I had my son Jake when I was 17. In my early 20s I started working as a secretary for construction companies and one day an opportunity arose for a quantity surveyor. It made me realise this was the time to do what had inspired me when I was little and I went to college to obtain a HNC in construction and a degree in construction management and the environment at Plymouth University.”
Now with eight years’ experience in the construction industry, Kat is responsible for assisting the site team at Church Walk 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.
Kat added: “It’s really important to me that I’m not singled out as different, women on site aren’t pioneering, we’re simply doing a job that interests us. That said, it’s good to raise awareness as I don’t think people realise how many interesting and different jobs there are in housebuilding. A few years ago, I was interviewed on TV about women in the industry. I felt so proud but they introduced the piece by saying: ‘we speak to Kat who’s taking time out from being a mum to work on site.’ That sentence was so devastating, I’ll always be a fully committed mum and I wasn’t taking time out, this was my career.
“I love working on site, everyone together, striving for the same goal – we’re all just one big team. I’m organised, have an eye for detail and I’m used to multi-tasking so the job has been a natural fit and it reminds me of watching my home being built every day. My dream is to be a site manager and manage my own site, to make that difference would just be fantastic.”
Construction director, Gareth Neale, said: “Kat is a breath of fresh air and it’s wonderful to see her on site. She’s a real asset to the team and we hope more women will consider a career in construction. 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.”
Kat added: “My advice to anyone interested in a career in construction is to just go for it. Times have changed long ago, it’s just no-one has recognised it.”
Kat’s son, Jake, is now 20 and is looking to follow his mum’s footsteps by working in the housebuilding industry.
The theme for International Women’s Day in 2021 is #ChooseTo Challenge. For further information visit www.internationalwomensday.com
Contact: Emma Mackay, Linden Homes, 077383 12960; firstname.lastname@example.org
05 March 2021
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