Women in Construction: Quantity Surveying

Emma Martin
It is safe to say my route into the construction industry was not a standard one. It began eight years ago when I was informed about a trainee quantity surveyor role that was available at a local company.

At the time I barely knew what a quantity surveyor was, so I had to do a lot of research prior to the interview. It didn’t take me long to realise that the role matched my analytical and mathematical skills perfectly. I went along to the interview and well, as the saying goes the rest is history! 

As a trainee quantity surveyor I attended college once a week for a period of two years, after which I went on to do a four year distance learning degree at the College of Estate Management in Reading. Balancing my degree and a full time job had its challenges; however, the positives greatly outweighed any struggles. I was able to gain a qualification, whilst putting into practice the theoretical skills I was learning. I am now enrolled with the RICS and undertaking the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) in order to become a chartered quantity surveyor.

...I was able to gain a qualification, whilst putting into practice the theoretical skills I was learning.

During my time at an all-girls school, construction was not a feature in our careers programme, hence why I knew very little about the role of a quantity surveyor. Thankfully things have changed significantly in the last few years. I have returned to my old school on numerous occasions, to take part in careers presentations, promoting construction as a challenging and dynamic industry with a diverse range of career options for women in particular.

The issue of the gender balance within construction has been gaining publicity recently with The Smith Institute presenting a report to the Government, titled ‘Building the future: Women in Construction’. The report claims that only 11% of the construction workforce is female and highlights the steps the industry must take to improve its image and address equality. 

The recently launched ‘your life’ campaign is aimed at increasing the take-up of STEM subjects within schools and universities, encouraging female participation in STEM careers. Atkins have embraced the campaign and pledged its support to the initiative by committing to boost the number of women within the company and support their ongoing development.

I have been a member of South West Women in Construction (SWWIC) for a number of years and it is a great platform for meeting and networking with likeminded women in the construction industry.

I have been a member of South West Women in Construction (SWWIC) for a number of years and it is a great platform for meeting and networking with likeminded women in the construction industry. Organisations like SWWIC are helping to raise the profile of women in construction and present it as a viable and exciting opportunity to the next generation.

My experiences in the construction industry as a woman have been, on the whole, positive which is why I am keen to promote the industry and particularly quantity surveying as an exciting career option for women. 

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