Meet the women building construction careers with Anwyl Lancashire
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Meet the women building construction careers with Anwyl Lancashire

FROM people assuming they would be male to being one of just three women on a degree course, some of the Anwyl Homes Lancashire team are sharing their experiences of working life.

It comes as International Women’s Day 2021 (March 8) carries a ‘Choose to Challenge’ theme and urges people to challenge inequality, call out gender bias and question stereotypes; while in the United States there’s even a whole week dedicated to Women in Construction (March 7-13).

Anwyl Homes Lancashire launched in 2017 and now directly employs more than 50 people, with women working across every department of its Chorley based business in roles ranging from trainees through to management.

Among the latest recruits is development engineer Jo Campion.

An Edge Hill University graduate with a BS in physical geography and geology, prior to joining Anwyl she worked for Brownfield Solutions as a senior project engineer.

Jo, from Ormskirk, said: “I’ve only been at Anwyl for a short time, but everyone in the team has been very friendly, welcoming and helpful. I’d worked with some of the people at the Anwyl Group previously as a geo-environmental consultant and a friend who works as a development engineer for another housebuilder recommended it as a good change of career.”

Her new role includes coordinating external consultants for road and sewer design works, assisting in technical reports for land appraisals, commissioning site investigations and topographical surveys and issuing engineering information to other departments.

“There’s been a real shift in attitudes in recent years and it’s great to see more women working in what has traditionally been considered a male dominated industry, although a lot of people do tend to still assume I am male from my name before they see or speak to me though,” Jo added.

Claire Dewhurst graduated from Liverpool John Moores University with a BS in building surveying in 2015, achieving a 2:1.

“There were only three women on the course out of 60-70 students,” Claire recalled.

She joined a rotational graduate scheme with housebuilder Redrow and found the commercial department was a natural fit for her, becoming an assistant quantity surveyor and then a fully-fledged QS, before joining Anwyl’s Lancashire business in October 2019.

Claire’s advice to women considering a career in construction is “go for it”.

“If you have the drive, anything is achievable,” she said. “There are a lot more women working in the construction industry now. There are women working in every department at Anwyl, including in head of department roles and hopefully I’ll be one of them in the future.”

Claire added: “You learn something new every day, dealing with different issues, problem solving for site managers and finding a solution while managing the financial side. This includes the challenge of introducing Covid-safe measures across all areas of the business.”

University of Chester biological sciences graduate Chloe Annis initially started working on Anwyl’s construction sites on a temporary contract. Her strong work ethic and positive approach was recognised by Anwyl and she was offered a permanent role with opportunities for career progression.

Now an apprentice assistant site manager, Chloe is the housing and property group’s first female recruit in the construction trainee role.

“I found myself really enjoying being there, liking the people and started showing an interest in and asking questions about the jobs they did,” Chloe, from St Helens, recalled.

“The more I found out about the processes involved the more interested I became, so when the construction director asked me if I’d be interested in working for Anwyl I jumped at the chance – even though I’d never imagined myself pursuing a career in construction.”

Two of the three people in sales management roles at Anwyl Lancashire are women.

Amy Houlihan, from Widnes, moved into new homes sales in 2015 having previously worked in the airline industry. She joined Anwyl as area sales manager in February 2020 helping oversee the sale of homes across the company’s Lancashire developments.

Imogen Suffell, from Tarleton, has a background in sales and marketing and customer service. Anwyl recognised Imogen’s potential, promoting her from sales advisor to trainee area sales manager during her first year with the business.

Hayley Hughes, from Fleetwood, graduated from Bangor University with a masters degree in geography and was recently recruited as a trainee sales advisor. She is currently working across the Lancashire region, including alongside Imogen at Stonebridge Fold in Longridge.

Also among the newest recruits is Agata Thompson, an experienced sales coordinator from Chorley, who joined the business in December from Jones Homes.

“I’m glad I made the decision to join Anwyl as everyone is really lovely here and there’s a relaxed atmosphere,” Agata said.

To find out where Anwyl is building go to: www.anwylhomes.co.uk

For career opportunities see: www.anwylgroup.co.uk/working-with-us/careers/