David Wilson Homes recently appointed Michaela Martin as site manager for its St George’s Gate development in Newport, Isle of Wight, and here she speaks exclusively to us about her career path and what she loves about the working in housebuilding.
Michaela won a prestigious Pride in the Job award last year for her achievements at another island site, Riverside, located in Whippingham, close to East Cowes.
Barratt sales director Michelle Storer says: “We think very carefully when appointing site managers for our new developments because they are crucial to the success of these important new communities. Michaela has skills and experience to deliver homes of the quality our buyers have come to expect from us. I look forward to watching this impressive new development take shape.”
Here’s what Michaela has to say about her career to date:
Please tell us a little about yourself and your current role at David Wilson Homes.
I live in Newport and started my career with David Wilson Homes as an apprentice carpenter. I’ve now worked in construction for the last 11 years. As site manager, I oversee every aspect of a development’s construction and work closely with all those involved in the process – including subcontractors and suppliers.
Can you tell us about your career path, from education to training, work experience and previous roles?
My first career ambition was to become an interior designer but when my local college didn’t offer that course I decided to go for carpentry and joinery instead. Then, a talk at college from women working in construction was a bit of a game-changer for me – I believed I could have a career in construction. I decided to write to several construction companies. It was in response to this that I was offered an apprenticeship with Barratt Developments – first as a carpenter and then as an assistant site manager.
What first got you interested in the housebuilding sector?
It was the talk at college from women working in the construction industry that made a real difference to me. I was inspired by the quantity surveyor, the architect and plumber who talked about their paths into construction and how rewarding day-to-day working life was. It was then that I decided that construction was what I wanted to do.
Are there any past projects and/or mentors that have been especially inspiring?
Hearing from other women working in construction was a real turning point for me. The women I spoke to that day inspired me to become part of the minority of women working in construction. I’ve also been supported every step of the way by the incredible team at David Wilson.
What is it about your role that you find most satisfying?
I particularly enjoy the organisation and seeing all the planning coming together. It’s also great seeing happy customers moving into their new homes.
You won a Pride in the Job award last year – is there a secret to reaching that level of achievement?
I put it down to hard work and managing the complexities on site. It is, however, all about team work, having the support of a great assistant manager and supportive subcontractors. My ambition was always to become an award-winning site manager and I was so happy to accomplish that on my first site. I wanted to show what I could achieve, and that’s exactly what I did. Winning the Pride in the Job award was such an honour and was everything that I had worked for.
Women are still just a small proportion of the onsite workforce – what can be done to bring more on board?
I think it’s about making sure that women know about the opportunities on offer. If women currently working in construction continue talking to the potential new generations of women workers, like me, more will be inspired to take up this as a career.
What’s your advice to anyone considering a career in UK housebuilding right now?
Do it! And there’s no need to be nervous because with companies like David Wilson Homes, there’s so much support on offer.