From the age of 15 when my parents were getting an extension built, I became fascinated with construction and the way everything came together.

I phoned around every local building firm in Birmingham that was listed in the Yellow Pages – but nobody took me seriously and all I heard was the sound of receivers being slammed down.

This didn’t put me off – it made me even more determined. When it came to deciding my career path, I decided to go into construction and everyone around me was very supportive.


I gained some experience doing general labouring until my hard work paid off and I got onto an apprenticeship scheme with national housebuilder, Taylor Wimpey, at the age of 17.

I fell pregnant during my training – and even this didn’t stop me. I finished the apprenticeship a week before giving birth and worked on site right until the end. My midwife and the HR team said I could do everything as before, I just had to avoid heavy lifting and working in the foundation trenches.

I gave birth to my daughter Macie in 2009 and after three months I was ready to return to work. However, the recession had hit the industry hard and I couldn’t find work so I took a job as a dental nurse to save up for further education. I worked night shifts in Asda while looking after Macie during the day catching an hour of sleep here and there.

Eventually I received funding from the Women’s Institute to start a BTEC in Construction and the Built Environment and I was able to fund my second year with my savings.

After more studying alongside jobs in document control and estimating – and giving birth to my son Maddox in 2012 – I finally landed the job I’d always wanted with BAM.

My first project at BAM was working on the redevelopment of the Barclaycard Arena (formerly the NIA) in Birmingham, while being sponsored to complete my final year of a HNC in Construction and Built Environment that followed the BTEC at Walsall College.

I then went on to work at the Beoma Quarter in Digbeth, before most recently completing the works at the Royal Shakespeare Company’s The Other Place development in Stratford-upon-Avon.

I got there in the end and I hope to stay with BAM for a long time to work my way up to site manager.

There’s no doubt that you can be a woman, have children – and have a career in construction. I would recommend to anyone wanting to pursue a career in a particular industry to use an apprenticeship as a means to get in.

I receive exceptional training and support at BAM and I’m so glad I continued with my education and never gave up on my dream career.

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About the author

Claire Brittain

Assistant Site Manager

Claire has completed her HNC in Construction and Built Environment and now works on sites across BAM Construction’s Midlands Region.

In her most recent post, she oversaw sub-contractors and carried out risk assessments during the construction phase, as well as supervising snagging work and checking the acoustics of the new theatre before the handover of the RSC’s prestigious venue, The Other Place.

Claire started out in her career in construction as an apprentice bricklayer and has worked her way up to site management.

Claire has been shortlisted for the ‘Rising Star’ award at this year’s Women in Construction Awards.

Read more articles from Claire Brittain