Hannah Simpson

GRAHAM Construction apprentice engineer, Hannah Simpson, tackles a question often associated with the construction industry – “Where are all the women?”

It’s my experience that prior to choosing a career, girls are not given the right information about roles within the sector.

I hadn’t considered construction until it was time to apply for university, when it became obvious that my strong subjects pointed me in the direction of civil engineering.

It’s a failing of our society that certain jobs are matched to one gender, and for that reason I had never previously considered it.

At university, from a class of 70, there were only eight female students.

The theme for International Women’s Day today is #PressforProgress and last year’s was #BeBoldforChange, but we still have some way to go in moving away from the male-dominated persona construction and similar sectors carry.

Being the only female on a building site can be a daunting prospect for some women, but thankfully I’ve found my workmates to be welcoming and respectful and I’ve been given the same opportunities as my male colleagues.

When people ask me why girls should be thinking about a career within the industry, my answer is that I absolutely love my job, every day is different and every day is a school day. I know this sounds like a cliché but it’s the experience I’ve had.

It’s important to me that we show that these roles are for both genders and that we aren’t telling young girls to stay clear and think of another career that is more “suited”.

You don’t have to want to build a building to work in construction – there’s a number of different roles that are needed during any project. I work with women in my company that are essential to the build while not working directly on site.

It’s also Scottish Apprenticeship Week this week, time to celebrate the routes that are open to all and highlight to young people of both genders the subjects they may need to kick start their career.

The company I work for is a member of the 5% Club, an organisation consisting of companies committed to ensuring 5% of their workforce over the next five years is comprised of young people on structured learning schemes.

I’m proud to be a woman in construction and consider myself lucky to have a job that I love – and it’s even better when you get to beat the boys!

Catch up with the rest of Scottish Construction Now’s International Women’s Day feature here.