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Women in Construction

“The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who’s going to stop me.” – Ayn Rand

To celebrate International Women’s Day on the 8th of March and Women in Construction Week, we’ve chosen to combine these with akp’s 30th anniversary celebrations by recognising some of the women within akp and by looking back to what’s changed within the industry and the wider workplace for women. We hear about what they have seen change since entering the workplace at the start of their careers and their journey to where they are today.

Moira Murdoch – Commercial Manager & Company Secretary

Moira leads the commercial management of the company and her role includes the implementation and management of our accredited ISO 9001 Quality Management System. She has over 30 years’ experience in construction and has worked across public and private sectors. Her diverse career, financial and commercial knowledge plays a significant part in the company.

“We are totally switched on when it comes to the commercial aspects of a job. We have the experience to make sure the project is completed on time and on budget – and always with a happy client”.

Moira Murdoch - Commercial Manager & Company Secretary

If you had to choose one thing which you think has changed for the better and one thing which you wish was still in existence within the industry or workplace what would they be?

“There is more acceptance within the Construction Industry for all types of people. 30 years ago, a female out with the admin and support functions within a construction company was a rarity. There were few openly non heterosexual workers in Construction 30 years ago. This has changed and the acceptance of an individual is now more likely to be if they are a team player and “pull their weight” or not. Construction is, and probably always will be, a very team related industry. The best projects are those that everyone works together on, whether that be to find solutions to buildability problems or pitching in the get a project finished. 

The onslaught of more and more technology is an amazing change within Construction, but it has enabled change and variations within a project to be of a routine nature. This in turn makes the day to day challenges of looking after the costs of a Project very challenging. Now Clients and Design Teams will alter details and specifications and expect them to be costed and incorporated within a Project within a matter of days if not hours. This is a fundamental step change from 30 years ago when we still worked off blue prints and changes were proposed on fax’s, emails didn’t exist and communications were through fixed telephone lines and if someone was out the office then you weren’t able to get hold of them. “   

Why did you choose the construction industry?

“I fell into Construction. I had a summer job working as a filing clerkess on a large Construction site. The Commercial Manager suggested that I should look at becoming a Quantity Surveyor and recommended that I enrol at University and obtain my degree on a part time basis.”

What one tip you would give to your younger self if you could time travel back to 30 years ago.

“I would like to have been more forceful in putting myself forward for promotions. I should have been more confident in my abilities. I was brought up to show respect to my elders and this led me to keep my mouth shut even when I knew they were wrong in side-lining me.”

If you had not chosen a career in construction what other career path were you considering and why?

“I had started a degree in teaching and then decided it wasn’t for me. I couldn’t see myself being happy in a classroom for the rest of my days. I then got accepted to complete a degree in Economics with Personnel Management. While waiting for that to start I got a summer job and was talked into Quantity Surveying and the rest is history!”

 

Edith Paterson – Finance Manager

Edith handles all finance matters within the business along with managing a team responsible for all contract administrative duties for akp sites.

“The financial aspects of a business are often carried out seamlessly in the background whilst projects are delivered. My team and I have a keen eye for detail which means that akp projects run smoothly and our clients and supply chain are looked after along the way”.

 Edith

If you had to choose one thing which you think has changed for the better and one thing which you wish was still in existence within the industry or workplace what would they be?

“The advancement in the past 30 years has been huge in Finance and HR. With the introduction of better technology and finance packages making daily working life seem quicker and more accurate with less human mistakes.  Accounts can be issued within weeks of the period end where it would have taken a lot longer previously.  Advancement in Employees Rights and Benefits enable employers and employees to resolve any issue or disputes very quickly making us more efficient managers.  Even in the past few years with the introduction of Making Tax Digital the communication between companies and HMRC keep all employees checked and updated weekly/monthly.

As much as the advancements have helped over the past 30 years in some way, they have been their own worst enemy. Employers can now run departments with less staff giving issues when holidays/sickness arise.  The loss of personal face to face communication I feel is so impersonal with email being the chosen method of communication in 2020.”

Why did you choose the construction industry?

“Having been employed within the retail sector for 28 years starting as an office junior straight from school and working my way to being an assistant to the management accountant and finally to an internal auditor position. Being made redundant from that job after 28 years was quite a shock and the first job that presented itself to me was a Bookkeepers position within a small construction company. There were many fears, was the accounting methods that I had learned over the 28-year transferable or would this be very different. Fortunately, only slight difference presented themselves.”

What one tip you would give to your younger self if you could time travel back to 30 years ago.

“Be more confident in my abilities. Believe in myself the way my office manager did.”

If you had not chosen a career in construction what other career path were you considering and why?

“I had wanted to be an occupational therapist when I left school, but I had dropped the science I had taken because I did not want to dissect a bull’s eye. And with no science I could not go on. My friend told me that she knew of an office juniors’ position and I secured an interview. I interviewed with another 70 girls and I got the job! “

 

Roz Malcolm – Business Development, Marketing & CSR Manager

As a qualified PR and Advertising professional Roz leads all Business Development, Marketing and CSR activities within akp. Together with being a member of the institute of chartered bookkeepers Roz has a firm understanding of business with competences ranging from operational supply chain procurement through to construction product expertise. Having focused her career in the Construction industry for the past 18 years Roz has utilised and applied a range of acquired skills and experiences throughout many individual sectors within the industry.

“Business Development is very simple; it is fundamentally about growing relationships and cultivating new. I am a firm believer that delivering good customer service, nurturing client relationships and thereafter delivering on promises will give an end result of repeat business. At akp we follow these beliefs which shows us as an attractive Principal Contractor fit for any tender list”.

 Roz

If you had to choose one thing which you think has changed for the better and one thing which you wish was still in existence within the industry or workplace what would they be?

“For better or for worse????? As my colleague Edith touched on, the rise in technology has certainly allowed for more fluid conversations and correspondence with clients in a global sense, breaking down geographical barriers and allowing SME’s in particular the opportunity to embrace many more tender opportunities than would not have been within reach, pre-email, utilising the variety of  associated procurement platforms which we take for granted today.

Having said that, I do feel that from time to time people are losing the art of conversation, and that was a key part of Business Development when I first started in the industry. I learnt from shadowing several seasoned Sales and Development individuals over a number of years, analysing the language and social etiquette surrounding conversation and the art of developing business relationships.

Picking up the phone or having a conversation to develop a relationship is no comparison to electronic platforms.”

Why did you choose the construction industry?

“I was certainly creative and a problem solver at School, enjoying Technological Studies, Art, Desktop Publishing and Marketing amongst other classes, so I was naturally drawn towards the Construction Industry and found it very rewarding being part of a team and seeing a project come together from inception to completion. Developing a client relationship or selling a material, to then see the end result installed on a building or brought to life in an eye catching Fit Out, and with a satisfied client at the end of the process.

Completing a course as a CNC Operator in my earlier years was a great way of increasing my product and technological knowledge but also make me aware of operational challenges within a business and how to overcome them. Expanding my awareness of Bookkeeping with an at home learning course was in-valuable and allowed me to grasp the importance of cash-flow within a business. I think these elements have made me a well-rounded Business Development Manager who is realistic, commercially aware and operationally considerate.”

What one tip you would give to your younger self if you could time travel back to 30 years ago.

“Don’t sweat the small stuff”

If you had not chosen a career in construction what other career path were you considering and why?

“I completed my work experience at School as a stable hand, so that would have been my ideal job. But when the hard reality hit with the early morning schedules, etc my teenage self-decided against that career!”

 

 

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