2nd March 2021
March 8th marks International Women’s Day 2021 and one woman who is making strides for others to follow in her footsteps is Megan Woodburn, an assistant site manager from Aintree, Liverpool.
Megan has held her role at our North West division for five years and is currently working at our South Liverpool development, Allerton Gardens. She is aiming to inspire and instil confidence in other women who want to work in the industry.
Megan started working in construction after completing a Building Surveying degree at Liverpool John Moores University, followed by a two-year graduate programme with us that led to her appointment as an assistant site manager, working at sites across the North West.
Megan says: “I originally signed up to do maths with education studies in the hope of becoming a maths teacher and it wasn't until speaking to a careers counsellor that I realised the scope of university courses available and that the likes of the construction industry could be an option for me.”
Statistics* show that in 2020, there were 1.9 million male construction workers compared to just 298,000 female. However, Megan, 26, says she has had nothing but encouragement to pursue a construction career.
“At university it was predominantly males on my course, there were only five other females. But I quickly realised we were all young and new to building surveying, so the male to female ratio was irrelevant and we all had the same aim; to leave university with a degree behind us,” says Megan.
A study** in 2019 showed the percentage of women working in the construction industry was:
3% of women in manual trades
5% of women in engineering
8% of women in haulage
12% women at professional roles
And even though there is still a way to go to increase the proportion of women working in the construction industry, Megan says she is seeing more young females coming through the same graduate scheme she did, including some of her friends.
“I feel so proud of where I’ve managed to get in my career so far. I have had to overcome a lot of self-doubt in this role due to public stereotypes regarding women working in the industry. However, I can see women working in the industry becoming the norm and it makes me proud to think I played a small part in getting to the stage we are at now,” adds Megan.
For the last two years, Megan has been mentored by our Lancashire division’s managing director Claire Jarvis.
Claire, 43, was one of our rising stars in her former role as sales and marketing director for the Chorley-based Lancashire operation, which she held for seven years, before she was appointed to the newly created role of Group sales director.
In 2020, she became managing director of the Lancashire division and is one of only a handful of female housing chiefs in the UK’s private housing sector.
Claire says: “Redrow’s mentoring programme aims to provide inspiration and support to the next generation of aspiring women leaders within the business, and the wider housebuilding sector, by identifying female role models across all levels and providing one-to-one mentoring.
“We’re now seeing more women coming into trade apprenticeships, into site management and other roles perhaps previously perceived as male-dominated. This will no doubt lead to many more women in senior roles within the construction industry and certainly more female MDs.”
Megan’s aim is to become a fully-qualified site manager and then a project manager and says having Claire as a mentor has helped her see just how far she can go: “Claire is the perfect example of a role model for young, female professionals who work in the construction industry. Being able to witness her numerous achievements and her promotions towards her gaining her current role of managing director has helped me believe that it is possible for me, and other young females in the industry, to do the same.”
Megan’s message to other girls thinking of going into a career in construction is to not be held back thinking you can’t do it, especially when there is so much support out there.
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