Women in Fencing
The fencing industry has lots of women working across all roles and we’re championing the work they do! The AFI supports equality and the industry needs more women so we can continue to make a change to the workplace. Celebrating women’s achievements and increasing visibility, while calling out inequality, is key.
Read below for just a few of the inspiring women the fencing industry has!
“I joined Calders and Grandidge 14 years ago because I wanted a challenge after spending 12 years in the motor industry. I have seen big improvements, we now have a female Finance Director, Erica Baxter and Sales and Marketing Manager, Charlotte Sinclair. It’s empowering to see these changes in our industry.
I love interacting with our customers. Every day and everyone is different, I like the variety of dealing with orders and problem solving with customers to ensure they get the right products and service.”
Jemima Bolton, Health & Safety Officer, Littlewood Fencing Limited
After being made redundant from the Facilities Management sector I knew I wanted to develop the Compliance, Health & Safety skills I had learnt but discovered that part time Health and Safety positions are far and few between, so I returned to a Compliance administration role. During maternity leave with my second child in early 2019 I was adamant that I wanted to return to a role within Construction and within Health and Safety and was fortunate to receive a call from Littlewood Fencing, inviting me to interview for their Health & Safety officer position after they had come across my CV online.
I have never felt luckier than the day I walked through their doors. I didn’t have the site experience they were looking for, but they took time to listen to my previous experience and my future aspirations and offered me the opportunity to learn in the role with them. They supported me to work flexible hours in order to have quality time with my very young family, in my first few months with them my manager ensured I was getting home at set times as I was still breast feeding my daughter.
Every day I am supported by incredible colleague’s male and female. Littlewood Fencing Limited are a company that get to know their employees on a personal level and develop our strengths, which in returns allows us to be the best we can be. Their refreshing supporting approach from the Fencers on the ground, to the amazing team I get to work with, my direct line Manager, the Directors and our Chairman – have only helped and supported me and have never made me feel limited or pigeon holed as “part time working mum”. This is truly empowering as a female in the fencing industry.
I have never felt so driven and confident as I am in my life and this has to be credited to Littlewood Fencing and their modern day, forward thinking business approach. When the world hit crisis last year and the world shut down, the first thing Littlewood did after only 7 months working with them, was to prioritise my family’s needs. I have been blessed to be able to support my family throughout the pandemic and yet continue to train, develop and even been given the opportunity to be part of a for a great company initiative. I could only make evening meetings due to home schooling, or complete work outside office hours – in order to be able to hear myself think, but this has never been an issue.
My work has only ever been credited on what I have achieved or delivered and not the timeframe or hours it has been completed in. How amazing is that? It’s truly inspirational to see how the construction and fencing industry has grown and developed, its inspirational to see woman in senior roles, leading the way. We constantly say that the support and opportunities I have should in 2021 be the way of the modern world, but this still is not the case.
I am now being supported by Littlewood to become a STEM ambassador, so as a Company we can work with our local schools and colleges to ensure that we bring awareness to the future generations of the roles for females in all elements of fencing. When you work for an organisation that is willing to see you for what you can do and not for what you can’t, how can we not succeed? This is how we continue to make positive change and be proud of our industry for what we are achieving, together.
“I came across the industry purely by chance. I was unhappy in my role as a banking advisor and I was given the opportunity to work at a timber merchant. Within a few weeks I was hooked. I enjoyed the forward facing role, breaking down stereotypical barriers and feeling useful. Most of all the people within this industry provide me with variety and interest on a day to day basis and the banter is pretty good too!
Having been in the industry 10 years now, I have seen a more general acceptance of women. Customers accept that we know what we are talking about, that we are not just someone’s female secretary (no misunderstanding towards secretaries though!) I see more women on site and I deal with a lot more women over the telephone – experienced, knowledgeable women who are organised and enthusiastic about their jobs. The moment when customers trust you and actively seek your advice, it’s a great feeling. They become friends not just customers. And as I mentioned before the banter is pretty good too!”
“As an individual who started working for ABC Fencing with no prior background in fencing, I enjoyed the idea of learning about an industry in which I could apply my skills and knowledge, excited to see what results I could achieve.
The fencing industry is a major part of the construction world as multiple types of fencing are often required for each project. We work with numerous sectors and industries from commercial warehouses, educational buildings, and domestic fencing, to name a few. It’s more than just working in the fencing industry, its collaborating with other sectors to complete important projects.
Throughout my time working for ABC Fencing I have seen women in many different roles in construction. I believe the industry has evolved overtime and there are a lot more women on site now than ever before. I look forward to further gender balance as more women are employed within the fencing industry, as this will bring varied perspectives and approaches. As the sales and marketing representative for ABC Fencing, I enjoy the diversity of the role. Every day is different. It’s dynamic, challenging and motivating. I manage the website, social media and branding, whilst also following up leads and new projects. I spend time in the office but also on construction sites, meeting a variety of people. Each project is different and requires a unique approach, this keeps me driven and means I’m gaining an individual experience and new challenge each day.
I’m pleased to be a part of the industry and look forward to seeing more women start their construction careers.”
“I fell into fencing through marrying a fencer! After graduating, I was an agricultural adviser across Lincolnshire however when we decided to start a family, working in Front Row gave me the flexibility to work around childcare. I do the accounts, payroll, paperwork etc and visit customers for giving quotations.
I think gender equality in fencing and agriculture in general has improved hugely since I started out twenty years ago. Customers and suppliers are a lot more accustomed to dealing with women and as a result, I haven’t experienced any blatant sexism for some years. I’m not a fierce feminist, it’s all about playing to your strengths and mine isn’t hauling heavy posts across muddy fields (although I do my bit when I can!).
I enjoy dealing with people and it’s great to see a project completed with a happy customer at the end of it. We have a great team with us which helps enormously. Through fencing competitions and online groups, we have met some fabulous fellow fencing contractors with whom we have been involved in some really rewarding projects to help others. It’s a cracking industry to be involved in with a network of genuine, supportive people.”
Roocroft Road Restraints celebrate the women in their business who make up 40% of the Management team and give great support over a wide range of activities. Of the last 3 management appointments and new people coming into the business, 2 of them were women and this was based on their abilities and what they can contribute to Roocroft`s long term strategic goals and business objectives.
Jayne, the Office Manager is the longest serving Female Manager who deals with all the company`s training needs, vehicle documentation and HR processes, she has made this position her own by hard work, commitment and dedication across all the disciplines she manages and often takes up additional project work over and above her usual daily activities.
Helen, is second longest serving Female Manager, her job title is Construction Manager and she is one of 3 Construction Managers within the business – 2 of 3 Construction Managers are women. Helen has just returned from a period of Maternity leave having given birth to a bouncing baby boy who has also got an older brother. Helen has come back and hit the ground running and was really missed whilst she was away. Helen is a great all-rounder, nothing phases her and she is always up for the challenge, whether it is in or out of her comfort zone.
Charlotte is the 3rd Construction Manager and her work encompasses multi-disciplines and she is always looking for new avenues to learn. She has transformed the area in which she works, always continually improving processes at every opportunity and making efficiencies in all areas of her remit. Charlotte has the ability to go all the way to the top and one day she will be a director in her own right, a very talented woman, the world is at her feet.
Diane, Accounts Manager and has a very strong presence in this area, backed up by transferrable skills, knowledge and experience. Diane brings another dimension to the Accounts department, which had previously been missing, nothing gets past her as she runs a very tight ship and she has made massive strides within Roocroft in a very short space of time. Diane is not only a very good team player but an excellent team leader.
“The women in our business make a real difference and deserve all the praise that is lavished upon them and as they are an integral part of the Management Team as they continue to perform to their high standards and work ethics.”
Louise McHugh, QS – Saferoad VRS
Being a Chartered Quantity Surveyor offers Louise the diversity to work across many different industries: “I joined Saferoad in September 2020 which is her first time working in the fencing industry. Coming from a mainly heavy civils background, it has been an interesting journey with lots to learn along the way! Saferoad have a fantastic safety culture and they offer excellent training and opportunities for their employees so joining a fencing contractor for the first time was an easy decision.
It is encouraging to see more and more women joining the construction industry as a whole over the years. Women are heavily underrepresented within construction however more women are taking up roles as the industry seeks to address the gender imbalance. Through engaging girls early school and educating them about the wide range of career opportunities within the industry has opened their minds to working in construction.”
Dominique Stevenson, Business Development Co-ordinator – Littlewood Fencing
“I first started working for Littlewood Fencing in May 2003 as Jon Hobden’s PA, working on sales and marketing, health and safety and general compliance. At that time we had about 50 members of staff, so my role had to combine several different areas – learning a great deal about how the business operated and being part of the development as the company grew from strength to strength.
In 2005 Jon Hobden became Managing Director, which meant that I was now the PA to the Managing Director of the company. The company was growing at quite a rate now and as a result, we had to employ a compliance department in order to achieve the many accreditations that we now have in place that has enabled us to work on bigger projects and grow further.
I have witnessed some amazing changes in my 17 years with the company – when I started at Littlewood less than 5% of employees were female but this is now closer to 15% and increasing. My work and commitment to keeping ahead of industry training requirements saw a natural step to become involved with the AFI and now sitting as a Director of the association, which makes me very proud indeed.”