Safety First: How One Woman Found Her Dream Career in Construction

7th March 2024

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Safety First: How One Woman Found Her Dream Career in Construction

Natasha Webley never planned on a career in construction. However, after taking an administrative role with an architectural practice, she was offered the chance to train as a Planning Supervisor. She found the work interesting and challenging and quickly developed a passion for construction safety.

Today, Natasha is a Senior Principal Designer at MacConvilles with over 20 years of experience in the industry. She is a passionate advocate for safety in construction and enjoys helping people understand the importance of putting health and safety at the top of the agenda.

In this Q&A, Natasha shares her story and advice for other women interested in pursuing a career in construction:

• Q: How did you get started in construction?

A: “By accident! Following my A Levels, I took an administrative role within an architectural practice. There, I was offered the chance to train as a Planning Supervisor. I took the relevant training courses and was able to shadow an experienced Building Surveyor who helped me understand the role. I found it really interesting and an area I could grow into that also played to my strengths. I was fortunate that my mentor was incredibly supportive and encouraged me to continue learning and developing my understanding of the health and safety profession within the industry.”

• Q: What is a Principal Designer?

A: Natasha explains. “Your principal designer works with design and construction teams to ensure that health and safety risks are appropriately managed and legislative requirements are adhered to when delivering a project. This can include reviewing design proposals for buildability and maintenance considerations, advising clients on any legislative or statutory duty requirements, feeding into risk management processes, undertaking site CDM audits, and preparing the health and safety handover file.”

• Q: What are some of the most rewarding aspects of working in construction?

A: “In my role, the most rewarding element is helping people to feel safe at work and ensuring they go home safe and well to their friends and family every day,” Natasha says. “I enjoy being part of the process to make that difference. I also enjoy working with contractors, particularly smaller businesses, to solve health and safety challenges and improve their understanding of the tools and processes to do this.”

• Q: What advice can you give women interested in pursuing a career in construction?

A: “While the construction industry welcomes more women, certain roles still lack equal representation,” says Natasha. “However, this shouldn’t deter you! Women offer unique perspectives and valuable skill sets that can significantly benefit both projects and companies.”

Natasha also offers two pieces of advice for aspiring women in construction: “Find a mentor who you feel comfortable with and who can offer guidance and support and take advantage of all the training opportunities available to you.”

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