International Womens Day: Guest Blog post from Karina Williams

The Joy of Placemaking

By Karina Williams, Sustainability Manager at British Land

Recently, a group of students visiting our Clarges development asked about life as a woman in the construction industry. For me, the answer is that I love my job! I enjoy the variety it involves and, even though construction is quite male dominated, it offers great opportunities for everyone, female or male.

Here are my top things about life in construction:

Watching a building rise out of the ground – it’s inspiring. I feel proud when I see buildings developed by British Land, knowing that I’ve played a part. Like 5 Broadgate, where there was a massive team effort to achieve FSC project accreditation, certifying that every single piece of timber came from well managed forests.

The intricate detail that goes into a build, the planning and logistics, involving big teams of architects, designers, engineers, quantity surveyors, carpenters, plumbers, plasterers, project managers, electricians and people looking after environmental improvements, community engagement, wellbeing and more.

The innovative ideas that people come up with. Opposite where I live, there’s a scheme that’s got a cantilevered mezzanine across two levels. It’s incredible how such a huge structure is engineered in such a way to create the illusion that it’s floating. Even seemingly simple rectangular buildings can encompass a whole load of innovative ideas.

Being around people who construct buildings. Whether you’re working with contractors on small scale projects or teams for massive schemes in the City, there’s something fun being around people who build – they make things happen.

Why construction needs to attract more young people

A diverse workforce tends to be a stronger one, introducing innovations, generating interesting ideas and creating a positive team atmosphere. However, construction needs to do more to raise awareness of the different roles, reaching out to young students now to show them how many opportunities are out there.

British Land is encouraging women and men of all backgrounds to consider careers in construction, through initiatives like the Construction Youth Trust’s Budding Brunels programme. We also helped Reading Real Estate Foundation get its Pathways to Property free summer school off the ground and we’re supporting the Urban Land Institute’s UrbanPlan UK.

More still needs to be done though. Students today are so connected to technology, perhaps there are opportunities there to capture their interest, raising awareness of tech-based jobs in construction, like Digital Engineering, Building Information Modelling and Building Management Systems.

A final note

If I was to say anything to anyone considering a career in construction, it would be ‘go for it’. There are so many roles available in construction now, you can fulfil any of your professional dreams.


Thank you to Karina for allowing us to post her guest blog in celebration of International Women's Day. This post fully supports our belief that construction is #notjustforboys. If you are interested in discovering more about careers in construction and the built environment, we run the Budding Brunels course on a regular basis during term time and welcome potential corporate partners, schools or students to get in touch if they are interested in finding out more. Find upcoming courses here.

You can read another guest blog from Faye Young, Regional Manager (London and South East) for SCS Group, here.

To take action to help accelerate gender parity #BeBoldForChange and commit to action here  #IWD2017