Equality of opportunity for everyone is essential for businesses to thrive. For 2019 International Woman’s Day, Holly Reynolds shares what #balanceforbetter means to her.
Introduce yourself for us
My name is Holly Reynolds, I am 19 years old and I am a Business Management trainee currently working for Wates Living Space in the Midlands, maintaining social housing. My trainee scheme allows me to explore different areas of the business, working six months in commercial and six months in productionAt the end of the two-year programme I can choose to apply for the role of either an assistant Quantity Surveyor (if I choose the commercial route) or a section manager if (I choose to go down the production path).
How long have you been in your current role?
I joined Wates as a school leaver in September 2018, and have been in my role around 7 months now.
What brought you to Wates?
After completing my A levels I knew I wanted to gain a higher level apprenticeship, as opposed to going to University, so I applied to various large companies that provided this type of scheme. Wates stood out to me as they offered a scheme which would fund my degree whilst providing on-the-job experience. Before applying to Wates, I had never really thought about the construction industry being a career option, but I knew that I wanted to go into management.
After researching Wates, I was initially attracted to the company’s ethos, ‘It’s about people’. The assessment centre confirmed to me that this was the company I wanted to be working for. When I went for my interview, everyone put me at ease straight away, and even though it was an intense day in terms of the pressure of securing the job, the atmosphere was friendly and welcoming as if the assessors wanted you to do well.
What advice would you give to women entering the industry?
I would advise any woman in the industry to remain confident in your ability and to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. There is so much opportunity for women in this industry; you just have to take it.
Who are your role models?
I have always seen Karen Brady as an inspirational business woman. Growing up, I was a big fan of The Apprentice, on which she was the only female judge. Known as the ‘First Lady of Football’ due to being the former MD of Birmingham City F.C., I felt inspired by her in terms of breaking gender stereotypes. I think it’s great how she made her mark in a male-dominated industry and proved that women are just as capable in management as men.
This year the theme of International Women’s Day is Balance for Better. What does this mean for you personally?
The first thing that springs to mind is that the construction industry will benefit from a more balanced workforce as this will help to improve the company’s image with the public, as well as with investors. A mixture of both sexes will only aid the industry, as women provide a wider range of perspectives and insights. Women are also more likely to promote other women as they are more likely to recognise qualities in them that could benefit the way that the business is run, which helps to increase the retention of staff. In addition to this, the more women who consider the construction industry as an option, the more jobs will be filled in an industry that has a skills shortage I think this is a great theme to continue with.