Graduate paves the way for women in construction

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Alana Downey of Barratt and David Wilson Homes

Ahead of International Women’s Day on Sunday 8th March, a graduate at Barratt and David Wilson Homes is encouraging more women to pursue a career in construction across East Anglia.

Alana Downey, 22, is on the Essex-based developer’s graduate scheme, a two-year programme covering the six operational disciplines of the housebuilding industry.

She said: “Since working for Barratt and David Wilson Homes, I have not once felt as though I could not achieve something or that I am at a disadvantage because I am a female.

“It’s important to do some research and look to work for a company with a culture that supports and encourages women into the industry, and don’t be afraid to try something new.”

Despite studying psychology at university, Alana had an interest in housebuilding from an early age and visited developments and show homes with members of her family who worked in the industry.

She’s now well on the way to establishing a similar career herself with the graduate scheme developing her skills in Land and Planning, Technical, Commercial, Construction, Sales and Marketing and Finance. The second year of the programme allows her to choose a preferred discipline and gain further experience.

Alana continued: “The industry is fast-paced, exciting and the increasing demand for houses in the UK offers a level of job security as well as many opportunities for career progression.

“I have felt very much supported by the managers at my office, who have taken time out to teach and train me.”

Whilst admitting the industry is still male-dominated, Alana recognises the perception is largely due to a lack of understanding of the many roles and responsibilities available in housebuilding.

In her 2019 cohort, she was joined by another female construction graduate, as well as three female graduates in the Technical department.

On encouraging more women into the industry, Alana added: “Young girls may benefit from workshops during sixth form about the different career choices available to them within the construction industry, as it is during this point in their life that they start to consider and make future career choices.”

With a number of female employees already in a range of roles across the company, David Wilson Homes wants to remind women from all skill sets of the different roles available and is encouraging them to put their experience to the industry.

Mark Cotes, Managing Director at Barratt and David Wilson Homes Eastern Counties, said: “We want to quash the age-old stereotype that the construction industry is a male-dominated field as we have many women who work out on-site as well as in office-based roles.

“With a range of departments within the company, we want to remind women that there are a variety of different roles that can be offered within the business that have great benefits and excellent opportunities for career progression.

“As one of the country’s top developers we are absolutely committed to developing raw talent and support our staff with training.”

On-site roles within the industry include: electricians, plasterers, engineers, fork-lift driver, scaffolders, bricklayers, site manager, contracts manager

Meanwhile, office roles will include architectural technician, surveyors, land and planning managers, estimator, buyer, finance administrator.

Further information about career opportunities currently available can be found at