For this year’s International Women’s Day on March 8th, Parker Building Supplies, Chandlers Building Supplies and Fairalls have been “celebrating some of the inspirational women that are leading the way within the business and helping to smash stereotypes”.
Emma Goodship drives a 26 tonne HGV for the Fairalls branch in Gatwick. Having worked in the equestrian sector for many years, Emma took a break to travel around Australia in 2011 and it was here that she noticed the enormous trucks that traverse the immense continent which sparked her interest in investigating a career change.
On her return to the UK, Emma successfully passed her Class 2 (rigid) and Class 1 (artic) at first attempt, and she has been working with Fairalls Builders Merchant for the past five years.
Emma said that her mother is the woman who has most inspired her. “My mum has always been the one to say ‘give it a go’. From when I was young she was always keen for us to try new things, whether it was learning guitar or riding a horse. She’s been great.
“I love my job at Fairalls. I love driving. Of course there has been a bit of skepticism from some men about my driving a HGV, but not anymore. They know that I am pretty good at my job. In fact some builders request me in particular to do their delivery. I’m good at getting into tricky areas and also my truck has the largest crane for deliveries!
“By virtue of my job, and how well I do it, I feel I’m helping to break stereotypes of what a women’s career should look like. I’m happy about that. Long may it continue.”
Milly Boden, the Branch Manager Designate at Parker Building Supplies, East Grinstead has been working in the builders’ merchant sector for seven years. When she first started in the sector her role was in counter sales. Since then Milly has swiftly moved up the career ladder and is now helping to manage the East Grinstead branch of Parker Building Supplies.
When asked what attracted her to work in the builders’ merchant sector, Milly explains that she likes a challenge: “The fast paced, competitive, rough and ready construction industry – who wouldn’t want to be a part of that life!”
She says that the countless women, in every sector, that have worked hard to build something successful, inspire her every day to achieve more and always aim high. And her advice to other women wishing to join the merchant sector, is simply: “Go for it! Learn as much as you can to be the best at what you do. Stick up for yourself. Nobody, man or woman, wakes up knowing the ins and out of the construction industry – men have to learn, women have to learn.”
She added: “Working in a very male dominated sector can be challenging but in a fun way! There is still an element of ‘surprise’ that women, like me, can be very knowledgeable about everything to do with building and construction. I’m not sure why this ‘element of surprise’ should still be around. However, it is improving.
“It is always empowering when the hard work you have put in pays off! For this International Women’s Day let’s continue to #BreakTheBias. Women can do everything that men do – and often better.”