JTRE London Celebrates Women in Construction
This week we celebrated International Women’s Day and Women in Construction Week, so we sat down with Phoebe Bird, Design Manager for JTRE London, to find out more about her role and her thoughts on the state of the industry for women.
1. How did you get started working in property?
For as long as I can remember I have had an interest in property. My dad was an architect, so from a young age I was exposed to and enjoyed being on or around a construction site. I chose to peruse this interest and studied Architectural Engineering and Design Management at Loughborough University, which lead me to apply and be accepted onto the St George graduate scheme, which allowed me to gain experience across all core areas of the business before returning to the Technical Department.
Since then I have worked on site for the past eight years and am now a Design Manager for JTRE London.
2. Tell us about your current role?
As a Design Manager, it is my role to ensure that design is managed throughout a project lifecycle ensuring budgets are aligned, programmes achieved and design is clearly planned, coordinated and communicated. From tendering consultants, managing the production of technical drawings, collating design information for tender, ensuring alignment with H&S regulations through to design delivery on site.
3. What do you love about working in property?
No two days are the same, I am lucky to be working on two projects, Triptych Bankside which is nearing completion and the second project which is still in the design stage. My day to day to work can be varied and very widespread, which I really enjoy.
I also find it very rewarding to see what begins as a concept on paper and the challenges overcome on site end in the completion of a building or home in a physical form which will stand for decades to come and hopefully be enjoyed by many!
4. Do you think enough is done to encourage females into the industry, and if not, what can be done?
I read an ONS statistic that only 15% of the construction workforce in the UK is represented by women of which only 1% are in the trades! That being said, I believe there has already been great progress made, with more awareness and a desire to become a truly diverse and inclusive industry.
We do, however, need to do more to attract, recruit and retain female talent across the industry, starting with education to ensure that careers in engineering and construction are clearly signposted so that young people of all genders can study the relevant subjects. We must take positive steps to target unconscious bias in recruitment and importantly celebrate female role models and the achievements of women in the industry.
Finally, we need to prevent the many talented women who are leaving the industry by tackling the gender pay gap, revising outdated policies and ensuring that women are supported across the industry to advance their careers and take up senior roles.
5. What would your advice be to young females considering joining the industry?
Trust yourself and have confidence! Challenge ideas which you don’t think are correct and don’t be afraid to ask questions. I think that a lot of people are afraid that asking questions shows weakness, however I believe that it shows strength and builds trust.