5th March 2024

Meet Jade and Leanna: Women in Construction Week 2024

In celebration of Women in Construction Week, we had the privilege of speaking with two remarkable women, Leanna Henderson and Jade Urch, who are both Quantity Surveyors at ATM Construction. They shared their experiences, challenges, and insights into what it's like to be women thriving in the construction industry.

Leanna Henderson: Quantity Surveyor

What do you enjoy most about your career?

I enjoy learning new aspects of the job. At ATM, we don’t just specialise in one thing; this means new opportunities come up to learn other parts of the job. It’s also very rewarding to see projects from start to finish and learn as much as you can along the way. I never thought I’d be going home talking to my partner about fencing and plants, but I do seem to waffle on about it a lot.

What is the best part of your job?

The best part of my job is working with new people on every project that I work on. Finding out about how each of our clients work slightly different and how each job will throw different problems that come up over the way. I find it very rewarding when I overcome those problems and come together with each client to find a suitable solution.

What makes you proud of the work you do?

None of my friends and family work in construction, so it’s not something I’ve decided to follow in anyone’s footsteps. I was working as a kitchen designer as soon as I left school and didn’t really know what career I wanted to pursue. So during lockdown, I signed up for an online quantity surveying degree, and I’ve loved every part of the course and how it helps me within my job. I am proud of challenging myself and taking new opportunities when they come, so that I can grow my career and learn new things every day.

Why should a person consider a career in construction?

Construction is so varied that no matter what your interests are you’ll find something you love to do. Whether that’s out on site, crunching numbers or overall management of the project there will be something that you love doing.

What is the biggest challenge of being a woman in the construction industry?

Personally, the challenge is making people believe you can do the job. I think because of my age they expect me to not have all the answers. And in some respect, they’re right I don’t have them all. However, if I do not know the answer I have the skills and knowledge to find the most suitable answer to the question being asked.

What advice would you give to someone interested in working in construction?

Go in with an open mind, and don’t get your heart set on exactly what you want. You might end up finding some aspects of the job more enjoyable than others. Learn as much as you can from everyone you talk to, because when you’re starting off, everyone will know something you don’t. Listen and respect the advice you’re given, but equally try to use that advice to make your own decisions.

Jade Urch: Quantity Surveyor

What led you to pursue a career in the construction industry?

I started working within the industry in 2016 and found it such a learning experience. I was constantly learning new things that I wouldn’t if I worked in a different industry as construction is so varied. There are so many opportunities to work in construction, you don’t have to be out on site there is a position for everyone that can even inspire you to work at doing something else. I had never heard of being a QS until I worked at ATM, let alone ever thought I would become one!

What is the best part of your job?

I love my job at ATM because of the support I get being a woman in this industry. I am well supported by everyone at the company to make sure I thrive and have all knowledge to do so. ATM has specifically set up programme to support and inspire women to take their knowledge further.

What makes you proud of the work you do?

I must work hard to understand the same things as some men just know, it’s the satisfaction of knowing that I have taken the time to learn and understand things. I was raised with dolls and girly toys and not learning about diggers or tractors, so this is an entire new thing for me to learn. I’m proud of myself for the work I put in to become knowledgeable within my industry.

Why should a person consider a career in construction?

Construction is so varied; I think people see working in construction as they have to be a brick-layer or a roofer to say they work in construction. There are so many roles that build the foundations of every construction company that are so impactful on day-to-day runnings.

What are the advantages of being a woman in the construction industry?

For me personally, its seeing my own development within the industry. I have become so confident in what I know and do, and I think it’s a great achievement in what is a male dominated sector. The industry itself also offer a lot of support for women. I recently attended a Women in Construction seminar in London which was inspiring to see how we have progressed as an industry to be more inclusive.

How do you think construction can attract more female candidates?

I think there needs to be better introductory programmes for women into the industry. Also, more encouragement for women who may have entered the industry working in for example administration, if they want to progress into a different role being able to have the training programmes available to enhance their skills and take them into a different career path.

Are you interested in a career in construction? Keep an eye on our careers page here for our latest vacancies.