International Women’s Day 2018

Today is a celebration of women’s achievements across the globe. But far from singling out women, the day focuses on unity and equality between men and women.

International Women’s Day has been celebrated since 1911 and for over a hundred years countries across the globe have embraced the day, including the United Nations who has made it a focus day for women’s rights and campaign for greater progress towards gender equality. 

We want to celebrate today by looking at the women within PCH who make a real difference to our business - women who are breaking down barriers and inspiring people around them.

 

 

Barbara Bottomley – Repairs and Lettings Manager

What attracted you to this career?

I wanted to work in housing to make a difference and help people. I previously worked in lettings and manged temporary accommodation for the homeless which gave me a really good insight into the quality of repairs and standard of properties we are responsible for and the impact of that on people’s lives. This prompted my desire to work in repairs in order to improve the services delivered to our customers. Traditionally repairs focussed on the technical aspect rather than the person at the end of the process – this is something I wanted to change.

What do you like about it?

It’s fantastic – it’s varied and each day is different. I look forward to coming to work as I get to work with a great bunch of people who are passionate about what they do.

What are the challenges you face?

It’s sometimes tough to achieve everything you set out to do as there is always something unexpected that crops up – look at the recent bad weather we experienced! Having said that though, the challenges are what the team and I find interesting and come to work for!

Do you feel like it’s traditionally been a male dominated area to work in?

Yes I guess it has but it’s never bothered me as most people are very accepting these days. I think some people may have found it strange at first but I think that is changing. Being honest, I think the teams didn’t know quite what to make of me when I joined PCH – I was told the office had never been so quiet!

Do you think there are enough opportunities for women in a repairs environment?

At the moment I would say there could be more but I believe that is due to the traditional ways we have trained, developed and recruited as a country over the years. There are however more and more initiatives taking off in the sector to get women into construction which is great and of course there are opportunities for women to join us and develop themselves within the repairs team at PCH.  

 Has it changed since you first started your career?

Absolutely – even six years ago I moved from the Housing Team to the Repairs Team at the company I was working for at the time and I was questioned on my abilities to manage the empty homes team by some of the longer serving male members of staff at a team meeting. I don’t think that would happen now so that in itself is great progress. What I have also noticed is that there are a lot more female project managers on development sites now than ever before which is great.

I’ve also noticed a change in the other direction – housing teams have traditionally been very female dominated but this too is changing with more men joining housing teams. The diversity here at PCH at the moment is great!

 

 

Mae Hughes – Brand and Campaigns Apprentice

 

What attracted you to this career?

I’ve always been really interested in design and always been quite creative – so when I saw this apprenticeship being advertised I thought it was the perfect opportunity to start my career in a great company.

What do you like about it?

It’s different every day. When I wake up in the morning I am excited to come into work because I know I’ll be doing something different from the day before. I create a lot of posters and flyers at the moment and people want different things. I’m lucky enough to be able to do something I love for a job!

What are the challenges?

Mainly people’s taste! People always see the graphics, posters and leaflets I design slightly differently in their head when they tell me what they want. I have to make sure that each design promotes our brand and sticks to the identity that we have as an organisation – people know what to expect when they see the PCH branding.

Do you feel like it’s a male dominated area to work in?

I don’t think it is particularly, I think there’s a good balance. There are still some areas though that have been seen in the past as male dominated that are starting to change and it’s great to see those changes happening around us.

Do you think there are enough opportunities for women in design?

I think there are yes. In my interview there was an even balance of men and women. I think this shows there are plenty of opportunities for women in graphic design and I haven’t ever experienced any bias in PCH as I think we are a modern company with a refreshing attitude towards equality and diversity.

 

 

Claire Newcombe – Development Officer

 

What attracted you to this career?

I’ve been working in social housing since 2001, starting life in repairs and voids before becoming a housing officer dealing with incomes and estate management. In 2008 I got a job working within the strategic side of the housing department. This sparked my interest in planning, development and construction and I became a Development Officer in 2015 which means I get involved in project management of new build development schemes. 

What do you like about it?

I like the variety of the day to day work. Some of the time I’m office based and on other days I’m in my hard hat, high-vis jacket and boots checking the progress on our sites. It’s challenging and I feel like I’m making a difference by building homes for people in Plymouth. 

What are the challenges you face?

Trying to juggle being a working professional and a mum to two young children! Working full time my working day starts well before I get into the office and ends well after I leave. It wouldn’t be possible without the support of my fab husband, family and friends. I’m also a trustee at a local nursery and if I get any spare time I try to fit in a trip or two to the gym!

Do you feel like it’s traditionally been a male dominated area to work in?

It has been traditionally but there’s always room for us women. If you know your stuff and want to get the job done to the best of your ability then it doesn’t matter who you are!

Do you think there are enough opportunities for women in development?

Definitely – provided you have the qualifications and get up and go to succeed. I’m now working in a very supportive and inclusive team – there are however many different sides to development and I’d like to see more female tradespeople and site personnel.

Has it changed since you first started your career?

I have seen a change since I first started in Development – for instance our new successful development at Tresco Gardens, Southway, was managed by a female site manager for Galliford Try partnerships.

 

 

Louise Turner – Head of PCH Manufacturing 

 

What attracted you to this career?

I saw PCH Manufacturing as a fantastic challenge – making the business commercially viable. Not only do we provide quality products to maintain PCH’s housing stock, we sell to businesses, other landlords and private homeowners. My career was originally grounded in health and safety and prior to taking up the position at PCH Manufacturing, I was Head of Property and Safety for PCH where I oversaw the complete renovation of Plumer House.

What do you like about it?

The workforce here is absolutely amazing. Every day I come in and everyone is keen to get on and get the job done, and we currently have several apprentices in place across our workshops so it’s fab to see the more experienced people passing on their trade skills to the younger generation.

What are the challenges you face?

We need to always look ahead – when we have large projects and orders come in then that’s great and we meet the timescales and expectations that we set ourselves but we also need to be marketing and promoting PCH Manufacturing. We want people across the city and surrounding areas to know that we are a name you can trust and who will deliver.

Do you feel like it’s traditionally been a male dominated area to work in?

I guess Manufacturing has traditionally been a male dominated environment but we are doing our best to change that. We have female operatives and we would like to increase that number. One of our stars is Sharon in our Sign Shop who consistently produces outstanding signage for businesses across the city and so with inspirational women like her in our team we hope it will attract more women to the business!