Women in Construction Week

We have been celebrating Women in Construction Week (March 6th – 12th 2022) by featuring three of the women who work at Powdertech - first Tasha, then Annette and now Ellie. Business across the wide construction sector need to advocate for equal opportunities and encourage women to pursue careers in these fields. 
For information, mentorship and networking opportunities for woman in construction, check out the work that the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) are doing.

Our third interview is with Ellie, Powdertech Corby's Sales Manager 

Hi Ellie, how did your career path lead you into the construction industry?

I graduated with a BSc in Psychology and decided to pursue a career in business and construction after a chance opportunity of a four-week role at a market-leading aluminium manufacturer. The business subsequently offered me a full-time position. Before that, I had never considered a role in construction being an optional career path for me. It was something which was never really talked about throughout education – to the girls anyway – or as part of any career opportunity advice.

What did that role involve?

Over the next few years, I worked from Technical Administrator through Estimating Coordinator, Technical and Estimating Team Leader and finally Technical and Estimating Manager, working largely with architectural aluminium and cast metal products. My customer base consisted mostly of architects, contractors, public health engineers, quantity surveyors and merchants. I managed a fantastic team of estimators and technicians working across thousands of projects and alongside the wider management team from whom I learned many things.

And what brought you to Powdertech?

I decided that I wanted to branch out and strengthen my skills in other areas of business, specifically marketing, business development and operations. I have had a passion for anything creative since I was very young – whether that be drawing, writing, painting… the list goes on! Powdertech's unique attitude towards constant innovation in their adventurous finishes really resonates with me. During my interviews I could tell that the team is passionate and knowledgeable. The continual development of new and daring ranges is one of a kind in the market. The Evolution finishes are my favourite – especially Aged Copper.

What does the day-to-day role involve?

In my current role, I work with the Commercial Manager looking after our key customers, pricing projects, and ensuring things run smoothly from start to finish. I have had the opportunity to begin managing social media platforms and representing Powdertech at exhibitions in London. My immediate goals are to absorb as much knowledge as I can about the powder coating industry and our customer base, to ensure I am best positioned to execute my role well.

Do you think women have equal opportunities in our industry?

The construction workforce is becoming much more diverse but there is still lots of work to be done to break down the invisible barriers that clearly still exist in our field. Throughout my education I had never considered a career in construction or viewed it as a path which was open to me - but this assumption was incorrect, and I would encourage individuals regardless of gender to consider the vast career opportunities this sector has to offer when they are considering their future endeavours.

What are the challenges around working in a male dominated environment?

I have been fortunate enough to have had leaders and colleagues who have given me many opportunities and placed great faith in me over the years, regardless of my gender or age. It is more of these leaders that we want to see in our industry to keep driving the change, those that acknowledge and actively strive to encourage diversity – but responsibility to promote this attitude sits with all of us, not just senior/middle management. That’s not to say that I have not had remarks made over the years relating to my age or my gender when executing certain roles – so the bias is still very much present and that can be both challenging and intimidating as a female working in this field. The industry has a responsibility to educate and encourage individuals, regardless of gender, to know that they are welcome here and that their careers can flourish in the construction industry like any other. That can be promoted by all of us, all the time.

What would you say to other women thinking about joining a career in manufacturing or construction?

I would tell them to go for it - break those ceilings! If you are determined and consistent in your efforts to progress your career, you will achieve whatever you put your mind to and you can prove wrong anyone who doubts you.

Where do you aspire to progress in your career?

I would eventually like to get into a senior management role within the commercial or marketing realms. It is important to me to work with a company who prides itself on quality and service and thus far, Powdertech certainly seems to hold those principles in the forefront of its priorities.

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