To support #InternationalWomensDay, we caught up with some of our amazing female colleagues to share their experiences.

Rachel Kelly, Asset Officer, shares her experience of working in construction-related roles.

“I recently came across this short but simple inspirational quote whilst browsing online and found it really resonated with me – “progress creates belief”.

"I have always worked within the construction trade in one way or another, with prior employment in roofing and asbestos abatement. I found that it wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy my role and the part it played, but I knew there was no progression or opportunities for me there - this was not down to my abilities, I just felt like I wasn’t really “seen”. My colleagues were predominately male, I wasn’t alone in feeling a slight gender bias, and certain roles seemed out of bounds. I felt it was time to make a change and I was the only one who could make this happen - change starts with you.

"So one day, I took a leap of faith and put myself out of my comfort zone, for the first time that I can ever really remember, and applied for a position at Magna.

"At first I was struck with panic that I was accepted for an interview - at this time in my career I wasn’t overly confident in myself and I was worried this would come across. But, I was successful in my interview and was delighted to join Magna in September 2019 within the sheltered housing department.

"I’m not ashamed to say I already had my sights set on the asset management department, so when I saw a position of Asset Officer being advertised five months later, I put myself out of my comfort zone for the second time and applied for the post. I felt my skill set would be a better fit here and I wanted to get involved with projects and to predominately be more property-based. I was invited for an interview and can proudly say I was offered the role, along with two others. I found comfort that I was starting this new stage of my career with two amazing colleagues and had a real sense of “my career starts here”.

"After a short time in a secondment role, I was able to get my teeth into my new Asset Officer position and all that it entailed. Under the wing of my new manager, Stephanie, it wasn’t long before I felt my confidence grow. I was encouraged to give back to others and took part in a careers and work experience day at a school in Lyme Regis, and a mock interview day at Blandford school, both of which I would never have foreseen myself taking part in before. I was amazed at the level of enthusiasm from both events and was proud of my part in encouraging a career in construction and promoting that women have a place here too.

"So for me, ‘progress creates belief’. With the right guidance and role model who lifts you up, leads and inspires, who encourages you to go beyond your comfort zone and as a result, builds your confidence, has given me the determination to do better, to overcome that longstanding thought of ‘I am not good enough’ or that I am not worthy of career progression. I now feel empowered and have self-belief. In the future, I hope to progress further and undertake a HNC in Construction and the Built Environment and help bridge the gap and misconceptions of gender-specific roles.

#BreakTheBias #IWD2022 #TeamMagna #WomenInConstruction

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For more information about International Women's Day, visit their website.