If there is a space that you see for yourself - go in and embrace it. Even if the space hasn’t already been made, you have the ability to create it and make of it what you want.”
What made you want to work in the Industry?
I have always seen great potential in the construction sector and for many years did not believe that it was something for me. However, my interest in real estate and property has always been there and a strong sense of appreciation for the significant amount of time, planning and specialist work that this industry relies upon resonates with me deeply.
I’ve always wanted to do something rewarding and that gives a great amount of satisfaction and success. I needed a job that could keep me stimulated and interested as well as challenge me as an individual.
What route did you take to where you are?
I did not take the most conventional route into house-building. I studied Communications and Media Studies at university, as I did not know what I wanted to do after education and I believed my degree choice would give me enough transferable skills for any sector.
As a Graduate Trainee, What does a typical day at work look like for you?
A typical day could start with going on site and calculating projections on costs to complete a particular build stage within the project programme. Site visits are my favourite days, especially when I’m shadowing a senior surveyor and get to visit multiple sites, seeing them at various build stages. The life of a quantity surveyor does repeat on a 4 week cycle and getting a routine of when you do your payments and valuations helps keep you on track and organised.
Through the tendering process, I’ve learnt how to negotiate pricing, costs of work and labour. This has been difficult at times and I’ve had to endure some awkward conversations, however it’s part of the journey and each time I gain more confidence approaching and haggling prices.
What are some challenges you personally face at work?
As a new starter within the Industry, I find it difficult to speak and find my voice in online platforms like MS Teams. The nature of the meetings mean I’m often observing rather than participating in calls, due to the formality of the meetings being conducted virtually as opposed to in a meeting room or an office. However, my voice is something that I’m growing into, as I continue to fulfil my role and work with various personalities within my team.
"I get to work closely with the Finance Department and the Sales Team. There are also Engineers, Architects, Development Managers and a vast number of different subcontractors that all work together as a part of a larger workforce."
My name is Adina Bailey and I’m a 23 years old who has been working within the Industry for 3 months. I currently work as a Graduate Trainee at Countryside Properties whilst studying my Master’s in Real Estate.
During my Communications & Media undergraduate degree at the University of Leicester, I began to explore many graduate programmes and made the decision to join Countryside in January 2021, as they offered a rotational scheme that would allow me to experience all departments within a house building construction company!
How do people react when you tell them your job role?
What advice would you give a young woman thinking about a career in your role?
I would advise young women to go for it. Dream big and work hard. If there is a space that you see for yourself - go in and embrace it. Even if the space hasn’t already been made, you have the ability to create it and make of it what you want. I would also advise young women to set out clear goals and boundaries for themselves to protect and guide them through their career journey. I did these at the beginning of my role and have found it useful to refer back to and implement in my day-to-day. Acknowledge the woman who you want to be and show up as her every single day.
Yes, I believe young women are put off joining the industry because perhaps their experiences or what they know of “people in construction” or “builders/men on site” may be negative or tainted in some way or another. This is a big generalisation and does not speak of ALL men in this industry. However, the stigma that is attached is overwhelmingly apparent and attitudes towards embracing women in the industry are not always shared.
Women do not have to go into Sales or Administrative roles when working in Construction! I have often heard conversations suggesting women can’t handle being on site and prefer the comfort and warmth of an office space. This is not true and there are no limits or red lines when it comes to the capability of women, therefore we should not subject ourselves to the opinions of these narrow-minded individuals.
Do you think there is a stigma or misconception preventing young women from joining the industry?
People are generally very surprised. I believe they think this is so far from what I most wanted to be doing. As a teenager, I told everyone I would go into television or some sort of media outlet. I think they see construction as not suitable for me as it isn’t very glamorous.
It can be tiring, constantly hearing “it’s a man's world” on site or being referred to as babe, love or young lady. I wish I could be seen as equal to the men on site and that respect for me is earned through the quality and due diligence of my work. However, I’m hopeful that things will evolve and through platforms like Girls Under Construction, we’ll change the current narrative of the Industry!