"I'm a woman in construction...here's my career story and how I feel about starting a family"

I’m a 25-year-old female from Lancashire. I joined the construction industry back in 2015 at the age of 17 and here's my experience

Alice Tapper

Could you tell me a little bit more about you? Your age and where you live?

I’m a 25-year-old woman from Lancashire. I have been with my partner for over 5 years and I often think about family planning in regards to our careers and how it would work. My partner is self-employed and runs his own successful business, however, I like to be independent and stand on my own two feet when it comes to my career.

Could you share a little bit about your job and how you got into it?

I joined the construction industry back in 2015 at the age of 17. I worked on-site whilst attending college part time which then later lead to me achieving my degree. As a construction manager not only do you manage construction and the process. You manage people, you're a councillor, a team player, a first aider, a fire marshall, health and safety manager, design manager, problem solver, the list is endless. There are so many responsibilities everyday.

What’s it like being a woman in construction?

Being a woman in construction can be so hard yet so rewarding. No day is the same. I definitely think that being a female in construction your card is marked and you have to prove yourself from day 1. The people I have met along my journey and the experiences and situations I have faced are what has shaped me into the woman I am today. I’d like to think this has made me strong, empowered and independent.

Do you work with other women who have children? Why does having a family feel incompatible?

In the 7 years, I have been in the industry, I have not once met a woman that works on-site and has a family. This is what has led me to question–is having a family and working in construction (site-based) even possible? The days on site are long we start at 7.30 am and finish at 5 pm. That's not including the hour travel before and after work - and sometimes Saturdays! It’s not the fact that I wouldn’t have support from my partner, it’s how would I possibly have time. I basically live at work alongside juggling family life while attempting to climb the ladder in my career.

Has it changed your plans as to when/if you’ll start a family?

The plans I have right now are to ensure I have met certain achievements, promotions and life goals before I even consider starting a family. Only being 25 and still quite fresh in the industry, I think I have a fair chance of getting where I want to be if I continue to work hard. Hopefully, when I do then feel ready to start a family I'm not impacted and set back too much compared to others.