Have you always wanted to pursue a career as a Quantity Surveyor?
I never really set out to become a Quantity Surveyor or even working within the construction industry; my role in the finance department at Calico has made me end up where I am today as a Trainee Quantity Surveyor.
Were there many opportunities in getting into this industry?
Initially, I never thought there would be many options for myself to get into the construction industry without having any technical experience behind me; however, looking back at this now has made me realise there are lots of opportunities to work within construction whether you are office or site based. I went from having an office role as a Business Admin apprentice to now being a Trainee QS on site.
Do you feel there is still a stigma around women working within construction?
I personally don’t think the industry today is as bad as it used to be due to more women coming into the construction industry – however, it still isn’t the norm for a woman to be site based as stereotypically these roles have always been carried out by males
Tell us a little bit of what a typical day at work involves
A typical day as a Trainee Quantity Surveyor generally consists of sorting out site queries, instructing variations if required, placing orders and creating contracts, visiting site for progress, processing payments. Depending on where the scheme you are working on is up to, tenders may potentially need sending out, final accounts sorting out, cost reporting/budget reconciliation to be done etc
Do you think more needs to be done to encourage women to pursue a career in the construction industry?
Yes, I do think more needs to be done to encourage women to work within the construction industry as it is a male-dominated industry. I think it is even harder if you are a younger woman like me, as it can be quite overwhelming especially when you are still training.
Have you worked on any projects? If so, what ones and did you find them exciting?
Previously, I have worked alongside QS’s on various new build schemes around the local area that have allowed me to gain experience and knowledge of how the construction industry works – I find each scheme exciting in their own way as each site is different and have different ways of working on each one. Most recently, I have been running my own new build scheme where I have had the chance to put my experience and knowledge to it and deliver it the way that I have learnt and what works best for me.
What has been the most surprising part of being a woman working in construction?
The most surprising part of being a woman in construction for me is that you actually get treated with respect and as equal as male workers do. Initially when I first came into construction, I thought that because I was a young woman people would think that I wasn’t capable of carrying out the role of a QS – however, after working closely with subcontractors and having a good relationship with clients I have realised that this isn’t the case.
Are there any challenges you have faced, if so how have you overcome them?
Just taking on the role of a Trainee QS was a challenge for me as I was a generally quiet and shy person; I never really believed that I could carry out a role like this – it is only through gaining experience and knowledge that I have found that I can actually do my job successfully which has improved my confidence levels massively.
What are your future career goals?
I am currently carrying out my HNC in Construction and NVQ Level 4 in Site Supervision – I did these to enable me to enhance my knowledge of the industry further. Once I have completed this, I intend to gain as much experience as possible on various different schemes and potentially carry out a degree in Quantity Surveying.
What piece of advice would you give to any women out there who are interested in getting into the construction industry?
My advice to women who are looking to pursue a career within the construction industry would be to just go for it – based on my own experience, it is better to get stuck in to it rather than being hesitant about it as that doesn’t seem to help (well didn’t for me). Don’t feel put off at the fact that you may be the only woman within your company or the site your running – just go for it and prove to people that you can do your job successfully.
Annabelle Robinson is 20 years-old, based in Burnley, Lancashire and has been a Trainee Quantity Surveyor at Ring Stones Maintenance and Construction since 2017. Annabelle is one of six women currently working at Ring Stones Maintenance and Construction and hopes to progress onto a Quantity Surveying Degree after finishing her HNC in Construction in 2019.