International Women's Day: Meet some of the women behind Persimmon
07 March 2022
With International Women's Day celebrated on 8th March, some of Persimmon's female graduates and apprentices talk about establishing their careers in the industry.
Monika King – Graduate Management Trainee
Monika King is a Graduate Management Trainee having graduated with a degree in Liberal Arts at Royal Holloway, University of London.
“I was keen to pursue a career within the housebuilding industry and to contribute to meeting the nation’s housing needs. Persimmon is a company undergoing transformation and from the start I knew I wanted to be part of this,”
“In just a few short months I have already been given opportunities which are far beyond what I anticipated prior to graduation. In my current secondment I am gaining experience in project management, development of IT systems, establishing a Code and an Ombudsman. I am working with senior people and gaining a huge amount of experience.”
“My advice to students looking for their next move on graduation would be to not let what you have studied or your background limit you in any way. It can be tempting to apply for everything you see, but invest your time and effort in what you are passionate about. “
“If you are interested in entering the construction industry, go for it. You have skills and qualities that are valuable.”
“The housebuilding industry has delivered for me, and I’m excited for what the future holds.”
Jade Simmons – Wales
Jade joined Persimmon as a Trainee Site Manager in 2014 and has risen through the ranks to Assistant Site Manager, Site Manager, Acting Contracts Manager and now, as of January this year, permanent Contracts Manager. Today she oversees four sites across South Wales.
“Persimmon has been very supportive right from the off and has encouraged me to progress with my career. I want to keep progressing, with the next aim of being Head of Construction one day.”
“The industry is changing and I feel women are really welcomed into it and appreciated. How you deal with people is far more important than gender.”
Betty Lee - Carpentry Apprentice
Betty Lee, a 45-year-old mother-of-three, was working nights in her local supermarket when she decided to follow her dream and enter the construction industry. Now Betty is progressing with a Foundation Apprenticeship in Carpentry with Persimmon Homes – and she’s loving every second.
“I’ve always enjoyed making things with wood so carpentry seemed a great fit.
“I am glad I took the leap. I am enjoying working on site and learning a lot. The apprenticeship has put me on the first step of the construction industry ladder and I hope to progress possibly into joinery in the future.”
“My advice to other women who are considering a career in the construction industry is to go for it if that’s what they want to do.
“I don’t get treated any differently to any of the guys on site. We’re just one team.”
Leila Haslam – West Wales
Bricklaying Level 2 Apprentice
Leila Haslam, 18, started her Level 2 Bricklaying apprenticeship two years ago having previously studied construction at GCSE.
“I’m really pleased that more women are entering the construction industry,” said Leila.
“I have received excellent support and encouragement from Persimmon and hope this is just the start of a long career in the industry.”
Ellie McMillan – PLC
Group Internal Audit Apprentice
“Having joined Persimmon in September 2021, I am really enjoying my role and the opportunities it is creating,” said Ellie, who works in Persimmon’s York office.
“Construction is an exciting industry that is constantly developing. International Women’s Day provides a perfect opportunity to help remove any misconceptions about gender specific industries and recognise the extensive and rewarding career opportunities in the sector.”
Millie Slack – North Mids
Level 6 Chartered Degree Apprenticeship (Quantity Surveyor)
Millie said: “International Women’s Day is a day when everyone can appreciate and celebrate all the efforts and achievements from women all across the world. I think that all women should be proud of what they do and that we are equally as important as men.
“Being in this industry really shows that, whether you're female or male, both can achieve just as much as one another.
“Construction is known as a male-dominated industry, but I wouldn’t let this put me off. I wanted to come in and show that I’m just as capable as anyone else.”
Katie Dowling – East Mids
Level 7 Masters in Planning
Katie said: “International Women’s Day provides an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women in the workplace and gives recognition to all the other women who inspired me and contributed to building my confidence.
“My advice to other women would be don’t let fear of being the only woman in the workplace put you off. I am very privileged to be alongside many brilliant women who work at all levels of the construction industry ladder.”
Lynn Johnson – Lancashire
Trainee Assistant Site Manager
Lynn, 53, opted for a career change after 30 years with Persimmon working in sales.
“Being a female in construction is challenging yet richly stimulating,” she said.
“I'm really loving my new job role and it's brilliant to be learning something new every day.
“The apprenticeship and hard work will bring you a vocational qualification in knowledge and skills and will open doors to great opportunities and a rewarding career.”
Chantelle Fort – Lancashire
Trainee Assistant Site Manager
Chantelle, 27, decided on a change in direction at Persimmon having started out working within the business’ sales team.
“I never envisaged working out on site, but there are amazing opportunities and more options than I ever realised,” she said. “I think more women should get into the industry – it’s not just a man’s world!
“I get huge job satisfaction from speaking to trades, ticking jobs off the list, making things happen and seeing projects completed, so this is a great role for me.”
Grace Clarkson – Nottingham
Land & Planning Manager
Grace said: “Since joining Persimmon as a graduate planner in 2019, my colleagues have always supported my career progression.
“I am proud to be working in construction and have never felt held back or treated differently as a woman. My career aspiration is to become a director within the business, and I would encourage other women interested in the industry to just go for it.”
Georgina Cox – West Midlands
Graduate Management Trainee
Georgina said: “Although there is still a long way to go, there are clear efforts being made to recruit more women into construction.
“The large majority of people that I have worked with are very positive about my presence and see it as a great thing that young women are becoming more involved. I believe that a wider variety of characters involved in a team leads to a wider variety of solutions to problems.”
Allanya Bird - South Yorkshire
Trainee Quantity Surveyor
“Maths is my passion and, after looking into careers, quantity surveying felt the perfect role for me,” said Allanya.
“As a woman I have always felt very equal in my role, both internally and externally.
“There are fewer women in my role and International Women’s Day is a great platform to further promote the range of careers open to other maths lovers.”
Click here to read more about Target 50 - our initiative to recruit 50 female apprentices or technical trainees into construction-related roles across the country this year.