Barratt Homes is confirming its commitment to gender equality by appointing three new female site and assistant site managers to oversee its new developments across the region.
Nyki Haylett is taking charge of construction at Stratton Gate in Swindon, Jasmine Sommers is trainee assistant site manager at Sandridge Place in Melksham and Kate Warrender is assistant site manager at Charlton Hayes in Bristol.
Nyki Haylett has plenty of experience within the construction industry: “I grew up around it really,” she said. “My father was the plant hire manager of a multi national company, so I was always hanging around his depot and had a morbid fascination with big cranes and plant.
“I first had connections with Barratt Homes when I worked as a sales negotiator for then sister company, Kingsoak South West. I showed a strong interest in site work, and eventually was asked to be an assistant site manager – which I jumped at.
“After that, I spent several years gaining experience with builders and developers in the south west, before rejoining Barratt Homes as a senior site manager five years ago.
“As a female within this industry, I do feel you have to work harder to prove yourself. Women in construction are still, even now, something of an anomaly – which is sad. It’s a good thing Barratt Homes is taking on more of us as I believe we can do just as well as men in this job. I’ve encountered sexism in the past, but I’m pleased to say now I’m treated the same as anyone else.”
Jasmine Sommers didn’t actively seek out construction as a career: “I studied Business at university, so I had quite a broad knowledge of how corporate companies are run – but no experience of working for one. I looked for a graduate scheme and saw that Barratt Homes offered one of the best ones for trying new things. I got to spend two months in each department within the business, and enjoyed construction the most.
“Every day presents new challenges and I love my job, and wouldn’t change it for the world. It’s such a fast-paced environment and I work well under pressure – so it is certainly the right path for me.
“It’s fantastic to see ‘women in construction’ being such a focus for many companies at the moment. I have never seen being a woman as a disadvantage in my job. As long as you present yourself as a professional site manager, there is no reason for others to doubt you. I’ve had a great response from all the men on site too. I think a lot of tradesmen find it fascinating that I’m here.
“One of the most amazing parts of being a woman on site is that men feel comfortable with opening up a bit more. They are very used to having a ‘lad’ culture, where personal issues and mental wellbeing are not always spoken about. I like to think I have been able to change this. A cup of tea and a chat about how life is going is now a normal occurrence in the canteen.
“There is still a long way to go but I would certainly recommend Barratt Homes to any woman considering construction as a career.”
Jenga proved the catalyst for Kate
Kate Warrender just loves building things: “When I was younger, I would build houses from Jenga for my barbies,” she said. “And as I got older, I would help my mum and dad refurbish houses. That sparked my interest, and then I started building my own homes. At that point, I decided it was the job for me.
“I started within new home sales to gain entry into the industry – and then transferred across to a Barratt Homes site team. I would say this is a predominantly male-dominated industry – I have had to work hard to prove my capabilities. But I feel gender-specific roles have diminished over the years. The number of women in construction is increasing daily!
“The Barratt Homes training academy has been a fantastic tool for me – and the support offered through the programme here has really helped my progression. At the moment I am assistant site manager, but I’m hoping to further progress into a site management role within the next year or so.”
For more information about construction careers with Barratt Homes, please visit barrattcareers.co.uk or call 0330 057 6000.