Women in Construction: Are you next?
A newcomer to a leading specialist interior fit-out contractor has encouraged more women to consider a career in the construction industry. Bianca Guthrie joined EE Smith Contracts, which is based on the Clarendon Industrial Estate in Leicester, after being involved in a Women into Construction event held with West London College and the Mayor’s Construction Academy West London.
The virtual session for a wide range of businesses in the construction sector gave women the opportunity to showcase their talents to future employers.
Bianca, from Hackney in London, was among those who took part and following a successful two-week placement, she has now secured a permanent position as a document controller at EE Smith’s prestigious contract to help create a luxury new hotel, The Peninsula London which overlooks Hyde Park Corner in the capital.
The 32-year-old previously worked as an electrical engineer and as a project planner for leisure centre and education facilities.
She said it had been a great confidence-booster to gain the job and feels more women should think about a career in the construction sector due to the variety of roles that are available.
“I have always been a practical person and I’m familiar with the work of Women into Construction which is why I joined the event, Bianca said.
“It is a great scheme because it gives you an opportunity to hear about positions you wouldn’t necessarily find out about and it is like a match-making session since you list three companies you would like to join for a two-week placement and employers name their three preferred candidates.
“It is a confidence booster when you are matched with each other and even with Covid restrictions, it was good to get on site at The Peninsula.
“Being in document control, I’m overseeing all the administration work, proof-reading and cross-referencing which, with a project of this size and value is really important.
“My role also involves health and safety which means I have overall control of all the documentation for the project.
“I can also progress and join the design, Building Information Modelling, sustainability, health and safety, and project, site and contract management teams together.
“I have the opportunity to obtain a high level of comprehension of the technical terminology used in construction. This has always been a personal goal of mine – to understand both practical and theoretical aspects of any construction project.
“EE Smith Contracts has been happy for me to introduce my own filing system and my role will grow as I become more familiar with the architects’ drawings and uploading all the necessary documents that are needed on-site.
“This is an amazing project and we are currently working on creating a hotel ballroom, hotel pool and all of the residential facilities so it is going to be amazing when it is finished.
“Everyone at EE Smith Contracts has made me feel welcome and I would definitely encourage more women to consider a career in construction.
“It is always good to have a balance in any workforce and this is a fantastic company with lovely people. I feel lucky because I have joined a business working on a great project and this is a great opportunity.”
EE Smith Contracts has worked on a number of prestigious international hotels in London – including The Londoner, the Grosvenor House, The Langham and The Savoy – along with commercial buildings and super-prime residences.
Andy Carter, of EE Smith Contracts, added:
“It is important to encourage women and men to the construction industry since there are so many skills and different types of jobs involved in the sector.”
“Bianca showed great determination as well as a wide skill set during her placement and we had no hesitation in offering her a full-time post at EE Smith.
“The majority of our work is carried out in London on high-quality projects that last many months and as well as providing jobs, we offer training opportunities to upskill our staff.
“I have found it to be a really rewarding career and I hope Bianca and other women who follow in her footsteps feel the same.”
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