Compared to industry norms, thirty per cent of Lovell’s workforce is female, while not quite the 50/50 split the business is striving for, this figure demonstrates the ongoing commitment to even up the balance. Through its culture, staff and initiatives, rectifying the gender imbalance in the construction industry is something Lovell strives to achieve everyday. As a consequence, these actions are naturally embedded within the business.
Sasha Bainbridge, Lovell’s business development manager in the East Anglia region is one of many advocates of women in construction spearheading change. Sasha works closely with Morgan Sindall Construction colleague, Helen Clements, in the development of a unique new training course. Designed to encourage more women to consider careers in the construction industry The Women into Construction Norfolk Programme is currently being delivered through East Coast College in Lowestoft and offers women across East Anglia the opportunity to gain real insight into the industry through a series of informative workshops, ‘Meet the People’ mentoring sessions, career talks, CSCS training provision, site visits, work experience and also by offering support to individuals with CV writing and interview skills.
Sasha said: “To attract more women into the industry we need to improve its appeal and shatter the many myths surrounding it. The training course offers women real insight into the industry, hearing directly from others about the roles and career options available and their own, first-hand experiences.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has tragically wreaked havoc on many jobs and industries and as a consequence there is now a real opportunity for the construction industry to demonstrate to women how it offers many truly rewarding and stable careers. As a business Lovell is working on a number of projects that offer real job opportunities for women – both directly and within our supply chain - and the course also provides women with the chance to access these.”
She continued: “For many, construction is seen as a man’s world or somewhere only the toughest women will thrive and succeed but, in my experience, this couldn’t be more wrong. I have worked in the industry for most of my career and I have loved every minute of it. Sexism is something I have rarely encountered and I have always been judged on merit and my ability, which is exactly how it should be.
“Many businesses talk a lot about gender equality and equal opportunities and whilst it is great that it is being recognised, more action needs to be taken to directly address the issue. I’m a firm believer in the phrase “less talking, more doing” which is just one of the reasons I am so passionate about the training programme – it delivers just that!”
Another amazing advocate for women’s careers in construction is Janet Cook, a site manager at Lovell’s Miles Platting development in Manchester. Janet has worked in the industry for over 20 years and has this to say: “Every day we are breaking down barriers for women entering the construction industry – with every woman that takes up a role typically perceived as a male job, we edge closer towards total equality. I’ve been a site manager for many years and I love it. As a career it is challenging but very rewarding and I think more women should consider this path.”
The commitment Lovell is demonstrating to supporting women in construction is recognised throughout Lovell’s supply chain. Michelle Garcia, Technical Advisor of IG doors sums up Lovell’s leading approach: “I have found recently more so than at an any other time, women are accepted into roles that were previously male dominated. I believe some companies are more progressive than others. Lovell being one of the most progressive companies.”