Luxury property developer Millwood Designer Homes is paying special recognition to its female employees – and across the housebuilding industry as a whole – to mark International Women’s Day (Thursday 8 March).
One of its team is Lorna Vince, who joined Millwood in 2017 as an assistant project manager. She has noted industry change to welcome more women into a variety of roles which have previously been male dominated. She says: “At companies I worked at before, staff have been predominantly male so I have got used to working with mostly male colleagues. Regardless of gender, there’s always going to be different characters which can make work interesting, sometimes challenging, but at Millwood we all work together. There is always going to be demand for housing and the skills required to successfully deliver them, so I definitely think that careers in the construction industry should be promoted more in schools generally including towards girls.”
Lorna explains: “Before starting at Millwood, I worked for a national housebuilder and then a regional housebuilder starting with a role in business development and technical admin. I was keen to progress my career and found a four-year part-time Design and Construction Management degree at Greenwich University, which I attended one day a week whilst working four days, which I successfully graduated in.”
“At Millwood, the role of project management focuses on quantity surveying, construction, technical and contract management which can be challenging at times. My previous experience in various roles has helped me adapt easily to the job. I’ve learnt so much at Millwood already and there’s so much more I would like to learn. I enjoy working for Millwood because it’s a cosy, family-orientated business and you feel like an individual rather than just a number.”
Melody Andrews recently joined Lorna at Millwood with a similar role as assistant project manager on the same team. She says: “From the age of 13, I wanted to get into the construction industry. I studied Design Technology at GCSE Level as I thought it would be the most relatable, however I think there should definitely be more courses out there to help progress women’s careers in construction and housebuilding. My dad works in the construction industry, so he was able to organise work experience for me, which lead onto an apprenticeship scheme. I am currently completing a BTEC Course in Construction at college and in September I plan to go to Greenwich University to study an Honours Degree in Quantity Surveying.”
Melody sees Millwood adopting very positive steps to bringing diversity and equality to their workforce: “I moved to Millwood for better opportunities and it was an added bonus that Lorna worked there as well. I have only ever worked with predominantly males, so I don’t know any different. There’s definitely a lot more women at Millwood compared to my previous job. My typical working day is being based from Millwood’s headquarters undertaking lots of research and planning on upcoming developments. My current focus is on three projects on upcoming sites in Cliffsend, Heathfield and Storrington. The team at Millwood are all very supportive and encouraging.”
John Elliott, the managing director at Millwood Designer Homes, is delighted at the Millwood’s approach to recruitment and retention of staff: “It is fantastic to see more women making the move in the housebuilding sector and International Women’s Day presents the perfect opportunity for us to celebrate our female employees, such as Lorna and Melody. At Millwood, we support all members of staff throughout their career and encourage progression based on merit, promoting within the company wherever possible. We are lucky to have a dedicated team of professionals committed to our end goal of building high-quality, beautiful new homes.”
Come to listen and talk about housebuilding careers – apprenticeship, diversity, training and leadership – at our New Homes Debate in London on Thursday 15 March 2018.