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7th March 2019

Balance for Better: Making way for women in construction

Growing up, I always had an exposure to the construction industry as my father worked as a contractor in London and ‘daddy day-care’ meant weekends were spent on site, getting stuck in, though I’m not always sure how much I was helping! The camaraderie mixed with the variety of work on site really appealed to my younger and inquisitive self.

During my school years, I developed a keen interest in Design, IT and Maths which led me to study Architecture, at Ulster University. After graduation, I worked my way up to Project Architect and specialised in healthcare and education projects. I always enjoyed being on site and working together with a multi-disciplinary team to shape the built environment around us. I love being able to see first-hand the progression and development of a project into an asset that has a positive impact on society, which led me to make the move to the contractor’s side of business.

As such, my current role as BIM & Digital Construction Manager at The McAvoy Group gives me a unique opportunity to get involved with every aspect of our business; researching and implementing new processes, using cutting-edge technology and innovations to support our workforce, and to deliver to our Clients requirements. If you’re looking for a job that will challenge you in a rewarding way and that is constantly changing, then I would highly recommend working in construction. I love that no two days nor projects are ever the same.

An example of the Building Information Modelling (BIM)

One of the main reasons that I am proud to be an ambassador for construction is that I can give back to an industry that has helped me to develop my career and helped me to develop as a person. I have been lucky enough to have worked with and been guided by amazing mentors who have taught me how to handle the complexities of the job. It is truly this support and direction that ensures my continuous enjoyment of, and confidence in, the construction industry. From this, I strongly believe in the importance and power of paying it forward and I regularly interact with schools, colleges, and universities to promote STEM and Construction to women and girls. It is imperative that we work to encourage women of all ages, backgrounds, and experience to consider construction as a viable and rewarding career option. It is only through increasing the visibility of the female contribution to the industry that we can shift attitudes and promote construction as an inclusive industry.

The culture of the construction industry has changed significantly for women. I am proud to say that the McAvoy Group is continuously exploring and implementing new ways to improve diversity in our business.  For example, at all levels of management, 25% of the workforce is female across the Group, and while there is more to do, this is significantly higher than the industry standard of a 9% female workforce.

At all levels of management, 25% of the workforce is female across the McAvoy Group.

Again, these figures can only change as more women are made visible, and included in, the industry. Working in construction, I have been lucky to meet so many diverse and interesting people, a feature of the industry that ought to be highlighted and celebrated. Girls and women should take confidence in knowing that as we begin to transform the way the construction industry operates, having a different perspective and bringing different experiences to the table is hugely beneficial to the way we approach our business.

Although we have to navigate hurdles and counter stereotypes, you should always be proud to be a woman in the industry and believe in your contribution. Take confidence in your abilities, act with integrity, make space for other women, and show it can be done.

Want to hear more from Lorraine and her work in digital construction? Check out her recent event for CIOB in the Midlands, now available for free on the CIOB Academy website: Digitising offsite construction

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