As part of the #BuildingEquality 2018 Campaign, Adrienne Bryan, Human Resources Manager, BAM Contractors Ltd, shares her story as a woman in construction.
I have worked with BAM Contractors (or Ascon as it was when I joined back in the 1980’s) all of my working career and throughout these years have progressed through the company starting as a young school leaver not knowing what my career would be.
Now, as the HR Manger for one of the main tier contractors in the country there is not much that I haven’t come across when dealing with people and all that this can bring. From upturns and the slow downs, we have all seen it. The fantastic projects that have delivered over the years, such as the new courts facilities around the country and the New Children’s Hospital due to be delivered in the years to come, are down to teams of people delivering these projects.
These teams include women, but not as many as we would like. Over my years in BAM, I have come across some inspiring women and many have struggled with this industry, some leaving it completely. But we also hear similar struggles from our men too. There is no question that it is a difficult industry, with deadlines to deliver projects within budgets and with limited resources, long hours and living away from home, but when we get to hand over a project where we have given it our all, working as a team to get the job done, the sense of pride comes shining through.
It’s the greatest feeling to know when driving down a motorway or seeing a new office development like we have just handed over on Dawson Street, that we were involved in some way in the many varied roles that construction offers in delivering these projects. So why should we inspire more women into the industry –well why not, why should it even be questioned, it should just be the norm that when a teenager is making their career choice, construction related roles are considered.
Why can’t it be the norm that a female can expect a career as a carpenter, engineer, or a quantity surveyor. We have been involved with some great initiatives such as iWish, Engineers Ireland Steps programme and in particular the STEAM Engineering in a Box programme where our engineers go out to schools for an hour every week for 10 weeks.
Feedback for the school kids has been incredible so if your get a chance, get involved with projects like these. Who knows, you might be inspiring the next generation of leaders in this industry. I really believe that it’s important to encourage this and bring about a more diverse working population for the future of the construction industry in Ireland. We need to challenge the status quo, delivering projects with unachievable deadlines and budgets cannot be to the detriment for those working in the industry. We need to see a construction industry that is society friendly with work life balance better for all, both men and women, and whatever your background. So welcome diversity with open arms.
To learn more about the #BuildingEquality campaign and to share your own story, please visit our dedicated #BuildingEquality page here