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As part of the #BuildingEquality 2019 Campaign, Aoife Gilheany, H&S Manager at SONICA , shares her story as a woman in construction.
Why did you choose a career in construction?
I studied Environmental Health in college and I was very drawn to the Health & Safety, and Building Technology modules that we had over the four years. I come from a farming background, where boys and girls are encouraged to undertake any job or task that may arise. There was never a “that’s a boys job” attitude. I knew that I wanted a career that involved lots of interaction with people and one that would allow me to be out and about as much as possible. Health & Safety has always been an interest of mine, the construction industry career was something that I was encouraged into by my family and by colleagues.
How important/helpful have role models been to you throughout your career?
I was very lucky to have a great mentor in my first Health and Safety role, she gave me the confidence to go into the construction sector. She gave great advice on what the industry was like and I feel I was able to start on site with a great level of knowledge and understanding of the construction world. I have gained life long friends in female colleagues who started off with me, to have that person at the end of the phone or on site with you is absolutely fantastic. They understand what has happened during work and we can share knowledge and advice on different situations.
What we need to do to attract more women and girls into the industry?
I feel getting into schools and colleges is very important. The construction industry careers are very much only sold to boys at secondary school level, unless you have a strong interest in a construction role girls aren’t being told of the opportunity. Even within my college course the construction industry was not sold as a potential career to us. Having a female coming into your class, who is similar age to you or that you can relate to, explaining the many careers that are available to you, would be a massive benefit. The industry is still very much viewed as a male industry by the general public. Start off educating the younger generations and the industry will definitely benefit.
To learn more about the #BuildingEquality campaign and to share your own story, please visit our dedicated page here