Housebuilder celebrates Women in Construction Week
By Sarah Wood
Housebuilder Barratt David Wilson Homes is celebrating some of its top team members across the region, as part of Women in Construction Week (March 5-11).
Currently just 16% of the construction workforce in the UK is represented by women.
Laura Lloyd is the regional finance director for Barratt David Wilson Homes West Region, which covers Gloucestershire.
She joined Barratt as an assistant accountant in 2006, after graduating from her four-year degree in business studies at Plymouth University. She had previously spent a year on placement with the company as part of her degree.
Barratt then sponsored her to complete her chartered accountancy qualification and she quickly progressed through the ranks, being promoted to finance director in 2015, before taking on responsibility for the whole West Region in 2021.
While there are some accounting tasks that have to be completed within certain deadlines, Laura spends a lot of time with teams on-site, making sure developments are on target from a financial perspective, that the teams are happy with their performance, and dealing with day-to-day issues, such as supply and cost of materials.
Laura Lloyd said: "My role is to ensure we keep a handle on those costs - manufacturing, materials, any unexpected increases. Are we buying the right land? Is the customer journey a good one and are they getting value for money?"
Laura is very conscious that, while the environment for women in construction has improved considerably in recent years, there is still work to be done around areas such as flexible working hours and conditions on-site.
As a traditionally older male workforce nears retirement, she believes there is the case for creating more part-time or job share roles, not just for those who don't want to retire completely, but to encourage more women who have family or caring commitments. She herself has two young children and says Barratt makes every effort for her to combine a full-time role across a wide region with her family life.
Andrea Pilgrim, sales director at Barratt Homes Bristol, said: "As the country's largest volume housebuilder, we see it as our responsibility to inspire and encourage more women to take up a career in home building.
"Speaking first hand, it's been a fabulous career for me, and I am passionate about seeing more women through our doors and to help challenge the traditional stereotype of the industry."
Louise Ware, sales director, David Wilson Homes, said: "We've made progress and we're lucky to have many women work with us now, not only in office-based roles but out on-site, too. However, I think there's still a lot we could do to attract more females into the industry. Women can bring so much to the sector and having a diverse workforce is always going to be beneficial."
Barratt David Wilson Homes developments in Gloucestershire include Merlin Gate in Newent and Winnycroft in Matson, Gloucester.
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