Women in Construction Week: Meet some of the women behind Devonshire Homes

6 March 2023

It’s Women in Construction Week (5th – 11th March 2023), a national celebration of all women in the construction industry.

Whilst the gender gap is slowly improving, the percentage of women in construction in the UK is still relatively low at just 14%.

This year’s theme, ‘Many Paths, One Mission’, celebrates the different journeys women have taken towards the same goal: strengthening and amplifying the success of women in the construction industry. We have a fantastic team of women here at Devonshire Homes who have all been on their own journeys to enjoy the positions they hold today. Let us introduce you to some of our team…

Jane Pearce, Sales and Marketing Director and Member of the Board

With over 25 years in the industry, Jane has worked her way up the ladder through work experience, choosing not to go down the academic route.

“If I’m being completely honest, it’s an industry that I fell into rather than seeking it out but once I started working with new build homes, I got the bug.”

Jane joined Devonshire Homes in 2009 as a Sales Manager and has since worked hard to become Sales and Marketing Director and Board member in 2015.

“I’ve had a really positive experience working at Devonshire Homes as a woman and enjoy my role in the boardroom despite being the only female Director. To be taken seriously, you definitely need to feel confident in what you are presenting and stand by your views. Having been in the industry for over 25 years now, my level of confidence is pretty robust and that has helped me become an active member of the Board.”

Speaking to women who are considering a career in construction, Jane commented: “Don’t be put off by the current gender imbalance in the construction industry. You are an important cog in the wheel so have the confidence and go for it. It’s an industry that offers so many different paths so you are bound to find something that interests you which will allow you to carve out a really worthwhile, rewarding career.”

Amber Gratton-Davey, Assistant Site Manager

Amber is an Assistant Site Manager at Devonshire Homes’ Bovey Tracey site, Longston Cross. Having been in the construction industry for nearly nine years, Amber has worked hard to enjoy the position she has today.

“Whilst I was a Trainee Site Manager, I worked full-time and studied part-time for three years” said Amber. “It was a challenge but developing on-site experience which ran alongside my studies certainly helped me progress.”

A day on a construction site is incredibly fast paced and there’s always plenty to do. Amber is incredibly passionate about customer care and takes ownership of this at Longston Cross. As a woman in the industry, Amber has certainly been met with some challenges, but she hasn’t let this stop her from carving out a career.

“Back when I was first starting out, it was a challenge getting leaders of build departments to take you seriously. There has been a huge shift in this over the years and I have no doubt that it will get easier and easier as more women enter the industry. There is still a lot of room for improvement across the industry, but the more we talk about it and allow women to progress, the better it will become.

“To any women considering starting a career in the industry, I would say absolutely go for it. Don’t let anyone, or any preconceptions hold you back. There is nothing we aren’t capable of, and I cannot stress enough how much I love my job and the industry as a whole. There is so much support out there.”

Maxine Dudley, Senior Technical Manager

Maxine has been in the housebuilding industry since 2002. Starting her journey at just 16, Maxine has enjoyed roles in architecture, interior design and local authorities which ultimately led her to a career in construction.

The only female amongst six males at an interview for a position at a highly acclaimed architecture firm, Maxine has certainly experienced the gender gap but that hasn’t stopped her drive and determination to enjoy the position she does today at Devonshire Homes.

“The construction industry has always been predominantly a male environment, especially when I first started out. Unfortunately, there have been a few occasions when you are dealt with differently to that of your male colleagues but usually my experience overcame these challenges. Nowadays, there seems to be great acknowledgement of the benefits of diversity in the workplace and women definitely have a place in the industry.”

Joining Devonshire Homes in 2022, Maxine loves the diversity of her job role.

“Every day is different. You never know what’s in store. I could be working with consultants delivering working drawings, answering site queries, or progressing legal agreements to name just a few. Multi-tasking, mentoring and decision making is an absolute must in my role.”

Maxine would encourage any woman considering a career in construction to take the jump.

“This is a fast-moving industry so if you are up for a challenge, passionate and eager to learn, this is the place for you. The rewards and pride in your achievements is second to none.”

Yasmin Elliott, Land Manager

With over six years’ experience in the industry, Yasmin joined Devonshire Homes in 2022 as Land Manager. Utilising her experience, Yasmin takes a lead on identifying and bidding on land, submitting planning applications for new build home sites and monitoring and liaising with the Devonshire Homes land team and external consultants to drive forward future housing developments.

Yasmin commented: “I am nearing my one year anniversary at Devonshire Homes and really enjoy the process of site identification which involves networking and developing relationships with agents and land owners. Working in a male dominated industry can feel intimidating for many women but in my experience, I have felt very supported. I’m listened to and I never worry about speaking out or sharing my ideas. The more you do so, the easier it gets. I feel inspired by the abundance of knowledge which surrounds me. The team work collaboratively to deliver the ambitious growth targets. I feel equal and empowered within my job at Devonshire Homes and I would encourage other women to think about starting a career in the industry.

"To others, I would say it's never too late to take on new challenges and learn something new. We all have skills that we can bring to the table. If you have high energy, are ambitious and surround yourself with the right people, you will go far."

We have a great team of women here at Devonshire Homes with women also working across the sales and customer service teams. We hope that more women will consider a career in the construction industry in the future, helping to close that gender gap which is currently too wide.

Click here to find out more about Women in Construction Week.