Women in Construction: Forum for the Built Environment

Sarah Jones
The Forum for the Built Environment had only one woman Chair in 31 years – so I’m delighted to have become the second! Construction is a much more diverse industry today and I’d encourage young people to explore the huge array of career options.

In March 2015 I was elected Chair of the Forum for the Built Environment (FBE) Cambria, the leading networking organisation for the property, development and construction industries. It’s such an honour and one that I couldn’t have imagined when I joined the FBE Cambria Committee in 2009, just two years after joining Faithful+Gould as a building surveyor.

FBE is an important organisation. We have over 2,000 members nationwide, bringing together professionals from multinational construction companies, cost consultants, architects and engineers. As the largest independent built environment networking association, our multi-disciplinary approach is a great strength.

We have over 2,000 members nationwide, bringing together professionals from multinational construction companies, cost consultants, architects and engineers.

I plan to further increase FBE Cambria membership numbers with a schedule of events for members and the wider construction sector. I especially want to encourage younger professionals to engage with FBE, take advantage of the networking potential and even get involved with running the organisation.

By joining the committee, you get to work alongside some of the most experienced construction professionals in South Wales, which I find is a real privilege. I value the experience of all those additional colleagues, and getting to know them has been a good way of broadening my horizons and extending my learning.

Fundraising is also part of FBE’s remit and, for my year as Chair, I’ve chosen Mencap Cymru, a charity especially close to my heart as my sister is disabled. We got off to an excellent start with our recent annual dinner at the Cardiff Marriott, which was held immediately after our AGM and raised £3,400.

I’m really keen to encourage young people to explore the built environment industries.

I’m really keen to encourage young people to explore the built environment industries. Too many young people aren’t introduced to the professional/consultancy roles when they’re weighing up their career options – they may think only the manual trades are on offer. As FBE Chair, I’d like to promote these roles to students and school leavers, and show them just how many opportunities there are in this industry.

However, I still feel there is more work to do if we are to increase diversity. Women continue to be under-represented in the construction and property sector in Wales, and there aren’t enough women reaching senior levels.

In my previous role as Chair of Women in Property, I regularly spoke on the subject of women in construction in Wales and I take every opportunity to champion the diversity agenda in the sector. I hope to continue the collaboration between FBE Cambria and Women in Property Wales.

My own career illustrates the opportunities in the industry. I joined Faithful+Gould’s graduate training scheme after completing a Business and Marketing degree followed by an RICS-accredited Construction and the Built Environment conversion course. I’m now a Managing Building Surveyor, having been promoted three times since joining the business in 2007.

I was lucky to join a business that offers good support for trainees. From my earliest days here, I’ve had great mentoring, through my Assessment of Professional Competence (APC), and on to management training. I want to give something back to the industry, and FBE is a great way to do this.

Written by