A Quantity Surveying student is proving that gender is no barrier as she plots out a long career in a male-dominated construction industry.
Recent figures from national construction and development company Wates Group revealed that less than 15 per cent of the UK construction workforce is represented by women, and, according to industry publication New Civil Engineer, 90 per cent of those roles are desk-based.
Laura Fraser, a trainee quantity surveyor at Cumbria-based homebuilder Genesis Homes, is set to qualify in May after five years of combining university learning with a hands-on role in the industry, which includes regular visits to construction sites across the county.
She is now encouraging more females to follow her lead and forge successful and interesting careers in construction.
Laura said: “I really like the variety of projects within construction because you never know what challenge is going to be thrown at you on any given day.
“I initially studied English Literature then Law but then I worked at a multi utility construction firm in Leeds with a friend, and the tasks I was doing there were really quite motivating and it was at that point when I became interested in quantity surveying.
“There’s so many opportunities for women in the industry and I would certainly encourage more to consider construction as a career.
“Recently, I have had the pleasure of speaking to a female assistant site manager and other women high up at construction companies, and the industry certainly seems to be accessible to everybody no matter what their gender.
“Genesis Homes is a modern thinking company which is really diverse and welcoming to all, and it’s great to work for somebody who encourages, supports and promotes diversity and equality among all its employees.”
A project Laura is currently working on at Genesis Homes is the construction of 16 net zero carbon emitting homes in the Cumbrian village of Calthwaite, as part of the company’s EcoGen project.
The development has caught the attention of the national media due to its significance to sustainable house building in the UK, with all homes being completely powered by renewable energy sources.
The challenges of adapting pioneering changes to the construction industry is something which excites Laura, and she is enjoying being part of such a groundbreaking development.
She said: “This type of project is new to so many people and it is very exciting to learn new techniques and methods while on the job.
“Finding out and designating who needs to do which job and carry out which role is an exciting new challenge and we certainly all have that feeling that we are part of something very different and major in the industry.”
Laura is one of many employees of Genesis Homes currently benefiting from ongoing career progression with the support of the company.
Managing Director Nicky Gordon praised Laura for her work ethic and her willingness to learn new skills.
He said: “Laura is an outstanding addition to the team and we are happy to support her through her continued development as she looks to expand on the skills she has already picked up over the past five years.
“Gender should be no barrier to a long, fulfilling and successful career in construction, and we are delighted to have somebody as talented as Laura working with us and driving standards to the highest level possible.”