Charlotte Cox

'The construction industry is still viewed as inaccessible for many women'



My dad was a clerk of works and worked in construction his whole life, so it was almost inevitable that I would follow in his footsteps.

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I have worked with Millwood for five years now, my first role was assistant site manager. After two promotions, I am now an assistant project manager. My new role means I get to enjoy the best of both worlds — I am based at our head office, where I have more of an overview of what is going on, more control over the financial aspects of the building process, liaising with subcontractors and, most importantly, ensuring the development is running to budget.

I am working on three current developments, Coppice End in East Sussex, Cherry Tree Lane in Surrey and Bakers Field in Kent, and one forthcoming site: Heartenoak Meadows in Kent. When I am out on site, I visit each development to perform health and safety inspections, monitor progress with subcontractors and the build process and make sure that deadlines for handovers are being met. There is a lot to do, and the nature of my job requires a lot of diligence, but it pays off when you see a site complete — I really love my job.

While there are more women being employed in housebuilding, the construction industry is still viewed as inaccessible for many women, and there is a perception that it isn’t the ‘done thing’ to work in this sector. I think this is mainly due to a lack of understanding about what roles are available within this industry — it isn’t all about being on building sites and using heavy machinery.

There are a variety of positions associated with housebuilding. More needs to be done to give this industry exposure to young women and educate the female population about construction. It should be part of every school careers fair and college prospectus, with opportunities made available for work experience placements.

Being one of the only females on site means I can be overlooked by visitors who automatically speak to the male members of the team. When I introduce myself as project manager, it’s not always expected, but I have never experienced any negativity from anyone or among my colleagues, everyone is always very respectful. At Millwood Designer Homes, every member of staff is a valued team member and they go above and beyond to provide plenty of opportunity to progress and further your career. As a luxury housebuilder, Millwood sets its standards high and attention to detail is key. Employees are given the required training and skill set they need to accomplish the task, and everyone helps each other. We all play to our own abilities and strengths.

I think we are definitely moving in the right direction with regard to more women moving into construction, but there is still a way to go before we can consider housebuilding. I am really looking forward to continuing my career with Millwood, progressing further, expanding my knowledge and helping the people I work with to build the best houses we can.



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