Owen PughThe construction industry is inherently male dominated – women make up only 11% of the workforce. As a large employer in the North East construction industry Owen Pugh Group is constantly looking at ways to challenge old ideals. The Group recognises the underrepresentation of women as well as other groups and encourages appropriate diversity. Strategies have proved successful and we are delighted that our 425 strong workforce is made up of a number of women including civil engineer, Sarah Jopling, and plant operator, Rachel Hoggett.

After graduating, Sarah joined Owen Pugh in September 2012 as the company’s first female civil engineer. A year later Sarah was named Civil Engineering Contractors Association North East (CECA) Trainee of the Year.

Gender relations aren’t an issue for Sarah. She said “from an early age I was fascinated with the construction of buildings and bridges and seeing progress being made. Having been brought up on the family’s farm, I always wanted to work in the outdoors, so pursuing a career in construction was a natural step for me.”

“I am working as a fully-fledged civil engineer at one of the north east’s leading civil engineering firms, which is a dream job. Owen Pugh has already supported me through additional training and I’m working with the Institution of Civil Engineers on my professional development plan.”

Rachel Hoggett, 21, also took a keen interest in construction from an early age. She joined Owen Pugh Aggregates (who operate out of the Group’s owned and utilised quarry at Marsden) as somewhere she wanted to work and a year-long Business and Administration apprenticeship provided the route to further pursue her dream career as a plant operator.

Rachel, the first ever female plant operator at the quarry in its 100 year history, completed CPCS training (provided by the Group’s own training school), which involved operating a tractor and bowser and a 24 tonne articulated rear tipping dumper truck.

She commented “I am honoured to be the first female plant operator. I always enjoy having something different to do each day, new challenges and finding ways to overcome them. The fact that there are more males in the workplace isn’t an issue at all and I think more females should consider a career in this sector.”

Owen Pugh

Owen Pugh Group is headquartered in Dudley with other bases in Blaydon, Stockton, Bassington Lane in Cramlington and Marsden Quarry. Visit www.owenpugh.com for more information.