Like a lot of people working in construction, my day starts early.
I usually get up at about 5am but the first hour of the day is all about my cats. I’ve just started as a volunteer for Cats Protection so I’m currently fostering a ten-year-old cat who’s been through a bad time. I love doing it and have another five cats of my own, including three small kittens.
I live in Aldershot, about a 45-minute drive away from the SIG Distribution Centre in Twickenham, London. I’ll usually get to work around 7.30am and when there, the first thing I’ll do is chat to the team who have started earlier to see how the morning’s gone so far.
My job is to ensure the successful operation of the site – this would be meeting the expectations of the company whist delivering the service levels our customers expect. I am responsible for a team of eight people. Even though we cover a big area, we’re a fairly small branch.
I’ve been in this role for about a year now and it’s great. I really love the team environment. I used to work in various industries – cleaning, security, customer service, I’ve done all sorts. It wasn’t until later in life, when I did some further qualifications, that I found out what I wanted to do. It was the previous Branch Manager who gave me an opportunity with SIG about 12 years ago. I eventually moved into sales and really enjoyed this, but then this role became available after some changes at SIG and I jumped at the opportunity.
One of the biggest jobs is to make sure everything we do is done safely. I’ll walk around the whole site to make sure there are no health and safety issues, and place real emphasis on housekeeping, making sure the warehouse and yard are clean and tidy. Across SIG we work to Zero Harm, this is all aimed at reducing accidents across all the work we do.
I’ll catch up with the teams throughout the day to make sure everything is running smoothly.
The team has adjusted really well to some changes made over the last year and their efforts have made it easier for me to put things in place so we can ultimately deliver better results for our customers.
I work closely with the Transport Manager and Warehouse Manager, and we discuss various areas of the day-to-day operation to see if anything needs to change or discuss where improvements can be made if needed.
And the rest of the day is filled with whatever else is thrown at me. There’s a routine, but there’s always something that crops up throughout the day that’ll need sorting. It’s up to me to put it right.
We would normally have four 26-tonne vehicles on the road delivering to places so there’s always something happening.
I’ll usually bring lunch in. My wife works with me at SIG so it’s nice to spend lunch with her. I’ll usually finish at 5pm when I’ll make the drive back and let the cat craziness happen all over again.
Away from work, I enjoy golf, I like walking, I like fishing. Where we’ve just moved to, there’s a fishing lake so I’m really looking forward to trying that out. And our new home isn’t a newbuild so there’s a fair amount of DIY to do when we’re not working.
I think it’s important for women to consider careers in construction. I’ve never had any experiences of being treated differently because I’m a woman. I work in the Construction industry but feel it would be different to working on a construction site. Sometimes in the sales role, people used to think it was odd they were talking to a woman. But people get used to it, and perceptions are definitely changing.
By Carla Payne Distribution Centre Manager at SIG Distribution