For this year’s International Women’s Day, Parker Building Supplies, Chandlers Building Supplies and Fairalls celebrate some of the inspirational women that are leading the way within the business and helping to smash stereotypes.
Allun Pittingale, MD of the Independent Builders Merchant Group, said: “Working in a male dominated environment these women demonstrate the best of equality and how women within our group of builders merchants are thriving and leading from the front in all areas of the business.”
Emma Goodship is used to surprising people at work. Turning up in her 26 tonne HGV to building sites, she’s often greeted with a startled look by builders!
Originally from Brockham village, Emma, 36, now lives in Horley working for Fairalls builders merchants in Gatwick.
Having worked in the equestrian sector for many years, Emma took a break to travel around Australia in 2011. It was here that she noticed the enormous trucks that traverse the immense continent. This sparked her interest in investigating a career change.
Emma said: “I thought to myself, I could do that – I could drive those trucks and I think I’d really enjoy it.”
On her return to the UK, Emma successful passed her Class 2 (rigid) and Class 1 (artic) at first attempt. She has been working with Fairalls Builders Merchant for the past five years.
Emma said that her mother is the woman who has most inspired her. “My mum has always been the one to say ‘give it a go’. From when I was young she was always keen for us to try new things, whether it was learning guitar or riding a horse. She’s been great.”
“I love my job at Fairalls. I love driving. Of course there has been a bit of skepticism from some men about my driving a HGV, but not anymore. They know that I am pretty good at my job. In fact some builders request me in particular to do their delivery. I’m good at getting into tricky areas and also my truck has the largest crane for deliveries!
“By virtue of my job, and how well I do it, I feel I’m helping to break stereotypes of what a women’s career should look like. I’m happy about that. Long may it continue.”
Milly Boden – Branch Manager Designate Parker Building Supplies, East Grinstead.
Milly Boden, 30, has been working in the builders merchant sector for seven years.
When she first started in the sector her role was in counter sales. Since then Milly has swiftly moved up the career ladder and is now helping to manage the East Grinstead branch of Parker Building Supplies.
When asked what attracted her to work in the builders merchant sector, Milly says that she likes a challenge. “The fast paced, competitive, rough and ready construction industry – who wouldn’t want to be a part of that life!”
She says that the countless women, in every sector, that have worked hard to build something successful, inspire her everyday to achieve more and always aim high. “These are women who fight against bias and boss it anyway,” she said.
Her advice to other women wishing to join the builders merchant sector, is: “Go for it! Learn as much as you can to be the best at what you do. Stick up for yourself. Nobody, man or woman, wakes up knowing the ins and out of the construction industry – men have to learn, women have to learn.”
“Working in a very male dominated sector can be challenging but in a fun way! There is still an element of ‘surprise’ that women, like me, can be very knowledgeable about everything to do with building and construction. I’m not sure why this ‘element of surprise’ should still be around. However, it is improving.
“It is always empowering when the hard work you have put in pays off! For this International Women’s Day let’s continue to #BreakTheBias. Women can do everything that men do – and often better.”