LANCASHIRE COMPANY BUCKS THE TREND
AS events are held across the world to mark International Women’s Day on March 8, a Lancashire company is flying the flag for gender equality – in what many perceive as one of the most traditional, male-dominated industries.
Prospect Homes, which builds new houses across the North West, boasts a management team with several high-flying women including head of sales, Samantha Williams.
“Construction is not a male dominated industry here at Prospect Homes, every department has at least one woman working within it, we are equally split,” said Sam.
Sam, 43, works alongside a large team of females, spanning across the business from land manager to technical, architects to sales executives.
“Right from the offset our developments are met with a woman’s eye by our land manager Terri-Ann Cross, then on to technical designing the homes with Rachel Mordaunt and Joanne Cornthwaite, who is also juggling life as a new mother,” said Sam, who has worked with a number of house builders during her 21 years in the industry.
“Our commercial buyer, Jennie Runcie, our sales administrator Lisa Berettoni, our customer care coordinator Kirsty Merrie and Kayleigh Johnson in accounts are all working behind the scenes, along with our sales executives Barbara Furness, Margaret Littler and Jasmine Carr who are out and about at our developments.
“We really do have a great team here.”
Following in her mother’s footsteps Sam joined the world of construction at the age of 22, working in a number of roles including sales executive, contractor chaser and field sales manager.
Sam’s current role is a fast paced one, starting with the initial stages of purchasing land, visiting the site, researching the area they are building in, as well as suggesting house types and the pricing of properties.
“There is a lot of research before the development even begins, I look at the local area, its schools, employment rates, the demographics and I speak to local estate agents about the local property market,” said Sam.
“Once our bid is won, I then turn my attention to hiring our sales team, setting up a sales office, working with designers on our show homes and advertising the development.
“I also work very closely with the construction team, ensuring a high quality and our customers are getting the house of their dreams at end of the purchase.”
The only area Sam admits that the team are a little ‘thin on the ground’ with female employees is on site, but they have already begun to make progress to reverse the trend.
“We want to encourage more women to work on site and we are working on this, in fact we’ve just taken on our first female apprentice site manager Charlotte Milburn,” said Sam.
According to figures by GoConstruct*, around 14% of construction industry professionals are women, but these figures are rising with 37% of new industry entrants from higher education, being women.
Charlotte, who is also studying for a HNC Level 4 Construction Site Supervisor qualification, said: “Knowing that the percentage of women in construction site management is quite low, it drives me to want to do that little bit better every day, learn more, work harder and be the best version of me I can be and try to bring a different perspective to work.
“I am currently shadowing the site managers on their sites, predominantly on the Lee Park Avenue site, I’m spending time with all site managers, so that I can learn the different ways that they operate.”
This year is an exciting one for Sam and other heads of department, who will all mark their third year with Prospect Homes.
“No land had been bought for three years before we started, so the developments that have now come into fruition are the ones we started, which is very rewarding for us all,” said Sam.
“Land completions can be a lengthy process, so to be involved in a development from the start and see it completed is so rewarding.”
Established in 2000, Prospect Homes builds homes across the North West and Yorkshire and is part of The Riverside Group Ltd. All profits made from home sales at Prospect Homes are given back to Riverside to invest in social value work and communities across the UK.
The team is currently working on several new land developments, currently in the early stages of planning.
If you would like further information about Prospect Homes apprenticeships or job roles email [email protected]