Construction needs more women say South West industry champion

One of the region’s foremost champions of women in construction is using a career milestone with leading South West company Midas Construction to call for more women to consider a career in the industry.

As Business Development Coordinator, Tessa Purdy is involved with a number of schemes across the region to show women and young girls that a career in construction is fulfilling, well paid and rewarding.

The 31 year old is a shining example of her own mission statement, working within a traditionally male dominated world since leaving university.

And now she is toasting five years with Midas Construction, a company she champions for helping her not only learn and progress but also for its drive towards equality.

Tessa said:

“It could be seen as quite intimidating coming in to this industry as a woman but Midas helps you to find your voice and has allowed me to open up people’s eyes to let them know about the many and varied jobs that make up construction.

“Yes, we do need workers on site, something women can do just as well as men, but we also need the likes of quantity surveyors, designers and project managers.”

Tessa, who lives in Truro, began working for Midas after her former employer went into administration. Starting out designing the company’s tenders for potential work, her role now includes community engagement and networking with the public and business community. Bringing more women into the industry is an issue close to her heart with Tessa also a vocal member of organisations South West Women in Construction and Women in Property.

Tessa said:

“Thanks to these groups I get to meet with influential women in and outside construction and we are really starting to have our message heard. Encouraging men and woman to embark on a building career is a hot topic at the moment as the industry does need to build its workforce again after the recession.

“There is a real push to get women into construction because there is no reason why they can’t do the same jobs as men.”

One of the highlights of Tessa’s engagement role has been when a group of young Plymouth schoolgirls were invited to spend an afternoon looking round the city’s multi-million pound Millfields office development.

She added:

“So many of the children who visited had never even thought about a career in construction but they came away inspired by the thought of becoming architects and project managers. It was really rewarding to see that we had opened up a whole new world of opportunities for these young girls, especially as construction had been an area that had never crossed their minds before.”

Alan Hope, Chief Executive of The Midas Group, said:

“Construction is facing some real challenges at the moment, attracting the next generation is one of the main ones. The industry needs to get the message out there to young people looking at potential career paths that construction is full of exciting and rewarding opportunities. I thoroughly support the fantastic work that Tess does to promote the industry and fly the flag for Midas in the communities that we work in.”

Tessa is keen to build on this momentum in the future as Midas continues to keep the community at the heart of all that it does.

She said:

“I really love my job and I want to continue building relationships alongside the good reputation of Midas. Getting more women into construction is a big part of that and it is all about changing the perceptions of the industry. There is also an unfair image of construction that it is a job people fall in to when they can’t get any other work but that couldn’t be more wrong. It can be an interesting career with real progression and good wages, on a par with what are seen as high flying jobs across the region. I want to help to show people that.

“A big thing for me is that Midas strives to leave lasting legacies in the communities it works in. We all live locally so it is really important to me that our developments are community projects with as many people involved as possible.”