Lauren Taylor is a site operative at Lane End Group’s Llandudno site in North Wales. Lauren Taylor joined the Lane End team after completing a Construction Skills programme run through Procure Plus, a not-for-profit procurement organisation that aims to break down the barriers to construction employment. Lane End Group partnered with Procure Plus to secure a site operative role for their Llandudno site, also working alongside ClwydAlyn, a non-profit making housing association based in North Wales.
“Growing up, I always perceived that construction was ‘a man’s job’ so I never thought of it as a career for myself. It wasn’t until I started working with friends on their construction businesses that I realised it is such a rewarding career.”
Getting hands-on construction experience
I started my career quite far away from construction, working in the film industry as a horse dresser. I then went on to work as community carer a for a couple of years, but found that this gave me little work-life balance and low flexibility.
After this, I ventured into a career at the water board as a service engineer. This is where I first found a spark of interest in labouring jobs and manual work. I found out about the construction skills course and the Onsite Experience Hub, and this is where I took the leap into my first construction-based qualifications, gaining a CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) card, health and safety and manual handling training.
My role today
I am currently a site operative on Lane End Group’s Llandudno development, and my role involves helping the site team with day-to-day logistics. This includes supporting with the delivery of materials, ensuring they are off-loaded correctly and that the order is correct.
I also assist the site manager and project manager in maintaining a high health and safety standard on-site, with daily checks of the welfare area, machines, and site entrance.
Taking away barriers to construction employment by giving it a go
I heard about the Onsite Experience Hub and construction training opportunity through a support worker in Llandudno. I was desperate for a career change so I jumped at the chance to take this up.
I had thought about a career in construction for years, after previously supporting my ex-partner set up his own construction business and working alongside him. He showed me the ropes and I immediately loved the new challenge and satisfaction I got from working in such a hands-on manual job.
Once I signed up to take up the training with ProCure Plus and CITB I was put on a three-day course where I gained my CSCS card, which is essentially a passport to working on any construction site. ProCure Plus was then contacted by Lane End as they were looking for a site operative, so from there I was given the chance to work on a trial basis for a few days on their site in Llandudno, and was eventually offered full time employment. Lane End also works alongside ClwydAlyn, a non-profit making housing association based in North Wales.
Bridging the gap between training and working
In Wales there is a huge skills shortage of construction workers. It is so important to put skills into practice and complete work experience to give people a better chance of getting full time employment. The training gave me insight into the theory and the skills needed in construction.
Thanks to the work experience and mentoring of the Lane End site team I have been able to gain valuable experience and continually improve my skills.
Construction careers are for everyone
Growing up, I always perceived that construction was ‘a man’s job’ so I never thought of it as a career for myself. It wasn’t until I started working with friends on their construction businesses that I realised it is such a rewarding career.
As soon as I landed a job with Lane End, I realised there were no barriers for women working in construction, I was treated with nothing but respect from the site team and working alongside the project manager and site manager means my ambition has skyrocketed.
Support from those around me
My role models in construction are certainly the people who have opened up my eyes to the industry, including my ex-partner who allowed me to work on a few jobs with him and the support worker who told me about the construction course.
The trainers on the CITB and ProCure Plus course gave me the insight I needed to get going, and of course the experience and mentoring that I have gained from my colleagues at Lane End has inspired me to keep going.
Construction careers: Bite the bullet and go for it!
To younger women out there who are unsure of a career path, I would say please don’t rule out construction completely, and don’t let the stigmas be a barrier. A career in the construction industry can you lead you to so many opportunities and give you immense job satisfaction. I changed my career in my late 20s and I wouldn’t look back. If you are thinking about changing your career, I would say bite the bullet and go for it!
The industry is extremely welcoming towards women and has changed so much over the last couple of years — it’s not what it used to be. Anybody considering a career in construction should not fear stigmas. All those that I have met in my journey so far have made me feel more welcome than any other role I have previously been in. If you’re hungry for it, you can do it.
I am really looking forward to continuing to learn from my current site team and those around me, gaining more experience and really getting involved in progressing the site I am working on now in Llandudno. Eventually, I would like to progress to section manager and hopefully, one day become a site manager and run a site of my own!