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Promoting Careers in Construction

Published: 28 January 2019

East Surrey College are proud to celebrate the exciting range of roles that are available in the construction industry. The Women in Construction campaign aims to inspire anyone looking to pursue a career in this dynamic industry, by showcasing stories of those already working in the sector.

Working with local employers, the College is sharing stories from women of all ages and backgrounds, including those that have undertaken Apprenticeships, study or employment in the sector. These members of the construction industry will give an insight into their experiences of construction, including why they chose to step into the industry.


“Hard work, perseverance and a nurturing environment can do great things.”
Hannah Ellis, 23 – Buyer, Thakeham Group

Hannah joined Thakeham as a receptionist at the age of 17 – “I was very shy and quiet, nervous to speak on the phone and scared of meeting so many new people.” Within a few months, her confidence had grown and Hannah started helping out in various other departments. “This then led to more work and the beginning of feeling part of a team.” Not long after, Hannah was then promoted to Assistant Buyer in the Commercial department – assisting the Buyer with large projects and taking the lead on smaller ones. Towards the end of 2017, she was promoted to Buyer, now the only Buyer at the company. “A career in construction was not something I had considered, but knowing the challenges ahead is something that keeps me motivated. Hard work, perseverance and a nurturing environment can do great things.”



“This industry is built on perseverance.”
Sarah Smith – Plumbing Lecturer, East Surrey College

From helping her prop-maker father in his workshop, to a degree in Theatre Design, Sarah has always been passionate about practical projects. After contract work in a theatre industry came to an end, she decided to retrain and chose Plumbing. “It was something different – an area of construction I hadn’t explored.” She worked as an Apprentice with a large company, and then transferred to a small, family-run firm for her Level 3. Whilst at the firm, she took on the responsibility of teaching new people and “taking them under my wing,” which led her to train as a lecturer at East Surrey College. “Being able to train up future members of the construction industry, in great facilities is very rewarding.” When asked for advice on getting into the construction industry, Sarah shared “you’ve got to be dedicated. If it’s something you really want, stick with it, this industry is built on perseverance!”


“The construction industry gripped me from the start!”
Rochelle Maduro – HNC Construction Apprentice, Osborne

Rochelle’s first step into the construction industry was helping with a family home renovation in 2009 – “it gripped me from the start! I’ve always had a fascination with logic and physics.” After taking time out to look after her daughter, she then decided to go back to study and enrolled on Construction Level 3 at East Surrey College. Through the support of the College, Rochelle then secured a Level 4 Construction Management Apprenticeship with Osborne, where she is working within BIM (Business Information Management). “The role gives me a great mixture of office-based and site work, it’s brilliant!” From problem-solving to helping out with software issues, Rochelle enjoys the variety and is able to apply her College learning to work projects. “An Apprenticeship helps to open up work from a different angle.” With her sights set on being an Architect, Rochelle described herself as “a creator. I’ve always been able to design and draw, and love seeing things develop and change.”



“A qualification is a gateway to so many places”
Alex Downham, 19 – Painting & Decorating Apprentice, Mercer and Mercer

Alex’s experience with painting and decorating at home developed into a desire to pursue a career in the industry. She started to consider a qualification in the sector, and discovered the Apprenticeship path - choosing to earn whilst learning. “I chose construction as it’s an exciting environment – you get to meet new people every day and visit different places!” Her work at Mercer & Mercer is supported by College studies, where she is able to study processes in more depth. Alex plans on finishing her qualification and commented that “ a qualification is a gateway to so many places, it means I have a better chance of progressing to a managerial or supervisory role.”


“Construction is so collaborative, everyone is involved in creating something from nothing.”
Soosie French – Assessor, East Surrey College

Soosie started her career in the engineering industry, in a secretarial role, before commencing a degree in Computing. As part of this, she helped with work on the Channel Tunnel, which included project management and traffic tracking. “It was so rewarding to be part of such a great feat of engineering.” After a break from work, she then started part-time employment as a Learning Support Assistant in the Plumbing Department at East Surrey College, and soon became an Apprentice Assessor. In this role, she is able to “pass on knowledge and experience to the students – Apprenticeships can branch off into so many different areas.” For Soosie, “construction is so collaborative, it’s amazing to see so many different trades involved and help to create something from nothing.”


“There’s a great sense of camaraderie in the industry.”
Jo Dunbar, 23 – Painting & Decorating Apprentice, Mercer and Mercer

Jo’s route into Construction began with studying Art & Design at East Surrey College, she enjoyed the creative freedom and decided to join the Level 1 Painting & Decorating course at College. Whilst on the course, someone recommended doing an Apprenticeship with Epsom-based company Mercer & Mercer. Now on a Level 3 Apprenticeship, Jo finds that studying whilst working gives her “the upper hand, you get more product knowledge and can combine this with projects at work!” When asked about why she chose the construction industry, Jo shared that “there’s a great sense of camaraderie – it really gets you through the day!”

Why not explore our Construction courses, or find out more about Apprenticeships? Pre-register for our next Open Event on Wednesday 27 February to explore our facilities, and speak to the Employer Services team! Book your place here

Address: East Surrey College, Gatton Point, London Road, Redhill, Surrey RH1 2JX

Main Switchboard: 01737 772611 / Client Services: 01737 788444 / Email: clientservices@esc.ac.uk