Assistant site manager Kate Heddy joined the industry at 40 years old. But she has ‘finally found a job I love’, she says.
What is a typical day in your job?
Over the last year, I’ve been working on an £8m transformation project at school, involving a large expansion and demolition works. It’s my job to prevent any delays with the sequencing by helping to manage our subcontractors.
“I really enjoy putting a project together”
I also make sure the relevant health and safety documents are provided, and the method of works meet the highest safety standards.
As we’re working on a live site, there are a lot of considerations, requiring me to manage risk assessments and communicate with various stakeholders to help logistically manage the works.
You have come to the industry as a ‘mature student’ aged 40. Tell us about the change of direction to construction?
After a management role at a farmers’ market, I began working in studio management for a housebuilder. It was there that I gained an understanding of programming. I had to learn when different parts would have to be on site, and what factors could delay a project. I also got to go to site to see how everything was implemented, helping me to learn how all the processes linked together. I’d never understood what the role of a site manager was before then.
After being made redundant during the pandemic, I was offered a temping role in administrative support at a large construction firm. The documents produced by the site managers sparked my interest. The more I learned about site management, the more I realised that I had transferable skills and this was a role I could really enjoy. As someone with a logical mind who likes answers, I knew my personality would also be a good fit.
What are you enjoying about the industry?
I really enjoy putting a project together and seeing it through to the end. Site management isn’t an easy role and mistakes do happen when you’re training. Some things you can’t plan for and there is a lot of trial and error. Although this makes the job challenging, it also creates lots of opportunities for learning and development.
Diamond Build is embracing change and encouraging women into construction in a way that some firms I’ve worked for haven’t. Change is important, and being part of it is another big motivator for me.
You have worked hard to gain qualifications in a short space of time and been thrown in at the deep end with projects. Do you have any further career ambitions?
I’ve finally found a job I love. So I’m hoping to complete an NVQ Level 6 in Site Management and continue to learn through experience and mentoring. I’m also interested in sustainability and unique design. In the long term, I’d love the chance to combine both as part of my role.
This article was originally published in Construction Management.