CG Fry Celebrates International Womens Day

To celebrate International Womens Day which falls during Women In Construction week , we chatted to some of our inspirational ladies and their journey in the construction industry. Caroline Hill (Sales & Marketing Director), Steph Higgins (Small Works Estimator/Surveyor), Sarah Gunney (Development Administrator), Sarah Pilling (Business Development Manager), Helen Adams-Westlake (Forklift Operator) Ellie Greenwood (Apprentice Carpenter), Sarah Bartley (Architectural Designer) & Serena Galvin (Trainee Assistant Site Manager).

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

Ellie International Women’s Day is a day where we can celebrate the achievements of women and where we can reflect on generations of struggle and social depravation. In many areas of the world, women are still deprived of clean water and education so this international holiday each year is a step in the right direction for all women to be treated fairly and with gender equality.

Sarah B An important day to remember how hard women have worked throughout history so that we can enjoy the rights we have today and a day to celebrate how far we’ve come, from not being able to even vote!!

Serena It means women can stand together and honour the movement for women’s rights and build support for achieving universal suffrage for women. It’s a celebration, who we are, how strong we are and of how far we have come and the independence we have achieved.

Helen It is a day for women to celebrate our goals, achievements and be proud regardless of whether they are career or personal based.   A day to prove we can do anything no matter what.

Caroline It’s the opportunity to see how much the industry has changed in the 25 years I have been working in it.  It’s a time to celebrate all of the wonderful women I have had the pleasure of working with, along side, admired, looked up to and to learn more from others and celebrate what they have achieved.

Steph A chance to showcase that we as women can be exactly who we want to be – the most important being for me is that we can have successful careers and a family!

Sarah G It’s an opportunity to inspire women to be included.

Sarah P An opportunity to celebrate and recognise the achievements of women across the globe, whilst inspiring and raising the aspirations of young women.

What is your proudest career moment?

Ellie While to some this may seem small, I went home to my parent’s house for Christmas, and I spoke to my dad who admitted he was just feeling so burnt out working full time as well as fully renovating his house, he was planning on hiring a carpenter to build a timber shed in the back garden and put a flat roof on his extension when I said we could do this together, and that I would be more than happy to help him. It was my first taste of what it would be like to have an apprentice, and this was the first moment in my carpentry career where I felt comfortable, and I knew within myself that I could do a good job without constantly seeking the reassurance from someone else to check I was doing the job right. My proudest moment was being able to take the burden off my dad, and help him out with his home, and to walk away from a job knowing 100% that I was happy with everything I’d done and would never need to go back and adjust anything.

Sarah B Working with renowned architects/firms and getting positive feedback from purchasers and architects we work with. Walking around our beautiful developments which look just like the 3D models we’ve created, seeing all the hard work and hours we’ve spent refining window details/door surrounds get built and feeling so proud that we’ve made such a positive impact to the built environment, leaving a legacy for generations to come.

Serena Easy, being asked to become a trainee assistant site manager!

Helen Passing my Telescopic Telehandler’s licence, achieving the required NVQ and being able to put these skills into practice.  I passed this at aged 50 showing that you can do anything if you put your mind to it, especially as a woman making a career change at such a time in her life.

Caroline By working hard and proving to myself that it was possible to push through the glass ceiling at the time to become a manager and then a director.

Steph Completing my degree apprenticeship whilst due my first baby after 5 years of studying. I think for me this really was the start of ‘wow I can be both people I want to be – a mum and a QS’. Admittedly I had to duck out of the standing on stage to receive my degree due to contractions, but I wore the gown and got the photos!

Sarah G Getting my first job in construction.

Sarah P Becoming a regional manager of a team at the regional plc board level. Being able to develop the team and assist the career progression of individuals. Establishing a bespoke construction customer focused market research tool kit and new CRM software that was used by teams across the UK.

What do you enjoy most about working in construction?

Ellie There is something very liberating about working outside; after working inside for my entire career, there is nothing more rewarding (come rain or shine) to be outside in the summer sun and to watch the sunrise in the winter mornings. The site environment and construction industry may seem intimidating to an outsider, but making the move from an office job to the tools was the best decision I made.

Sarah B Its creative, exciting, and challenging. We are constantly revising procedures, striving to meet new sustainability targets and standards and refining our drawings and how we build. Every project is different and comes with different challenges and deadlines, you never get bored!

Serena My favourite thing about working in construction is the people I work with. Different people from all walks of life with different skills. I also love to see our buildings being made from sub structure to the final product the whole process fascinates me.

Helen I enjoy, not only the diversity of people I have met, but also the work.  No day is the same.  The ability to use my skills as a telehandler driver and always learning something new.

Caroline Working as part of a team who can deliver homes that our customers happily live in. To hear the feedback from them about the positive impact it has had on them and their families and to see our developments grow into great places to live that we are proud of and to leave our name above their doors.

Steph The challenges faced daily, in my role no two days are the same, I love how dynamic my weeks can be. I love helping people build their home, to see it all come together and know I have been a part of something full of memories is really rewarding. love getting out and about, the mix of working in the office or visiting construction sites is great!

Sarah G I enjoy being involved in the process of constructing a building. It takes a lot of people working together to produce the end product. Everybody is part of a huge jigsaw all contributing towards its construction.

Sarah P The people, the team work the journey, the outcome and seeing the buildings we deliver being used and enjoyed. I am currently enjoying exploring the sustainability in construction and our social value impact.

What would you say to a woman looking to start her career in construction?

Caroline What are you waiting for? Whether you are academic or vocational there is something in construction for you – You could be the next carpenter, plumber, design technician, quantity surveyor, site manager or director – the possibilities are endless but the first step is up to you!

Steph Trust in yourself and don’t let anyone make you believe any different. Don’t let being a woman define you.

Sarah G Be strong & resilient! You have the skills to progress in your chosen career and don’t let anyone question this.

Sarah P Embrace your passion and go for it! The construction industry is a dynamic and rewarding field with endless opportunities for growth and success. Don't be discouraged by any preconceived notions or stereotypes - your skills, dedication, and hard work are what truly matter. Surround yourself with a supportive network, seek out mentors, and never stop learning. Believe in yourself and your capabilities - you have the power to build a brilliant career in construction and make a lasting impact in this exciting industry.

Sarah B Go for it, you can do anything in this world you want to, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

Serena Do it! You can do anything if you put your mind to it. Work in construction is fun, rewarding and never dull.

Helen Go for it, I find it an exciting environment to work in, challenging, Yes, but also very satisfying.