May 24: Meet the women of Bourne Group

Women have been making significant contributions to the construction industry for decades, yet their presence and impact are often overlooked. In recent years, however, the tide has begun to turn on outdated perspectives of equality and bias, and we have seen a growing recognition of the valuable role that women play in this traditionally male-dominated field.
As a construction company that has been around for nearly 80 years, we feel it is our duty to influence future generations and support the WIC movement, with our male allies in the business behind us every step of the way.

Here at Bourne Group, we employ women across all areas of the business, women who are challenging gender roles and proving that they can excel in construction careers. By continually diversifying our workforce, we are incorporating different viewpoints and harnessing a range of experiences.

Take Bourne Rail & Special Projects’ Business Development Manager, Sam Lester. She grew up to believe that the world of construction was not for girls. Starting off her career as an apprentice within a construction company, she quickly realised that women had much more to offer the industry besides their qualifications. Emotional intelligence, creativity, innovation and communication skills, to name but a few. Many women in construction never contemplate a career in this industry and that viewpoint is something Sam is keen to change. Recently appointed as Bourne Group’s Women in Construction Champion, she continues to represent Bourne at multiple events and workshops that empower women, championing our female contingent and promoting gender awareness in the wider context of the industry.

For Structural Engineer, Guiomar Vicente, her journey into construction started with an interest in maths, physics and drawing/arts, combined with a passion for architecture. This led her to choose civil engineering and in her 2.5 years at Bourne, through conceptual solutions and calculations, she has contributed to ensuring that Bourne Group’s structures are built in a safe manner and will remain so during their design life. Women like her are looking to inspire and encourage young girls to consider careers in the industry and Guiomar believes we can set positive examples in a male-dominated area by demonstrating fairness in available opportunities. And a great way to encourage and inspire younger generations of women into the construction industry is through increased representation at events such as careers fairs and college open days. We recognise that one of the biggest issues with the construction sector is how to attract girls/women, and Bourne Group will be sharing our stories more widely in 2024 to create a pathway for a more diverse future workforce. We offer work experience and apprenticeships across all of our business units, and continue to target local schools and colleges speaking directly to young women.

Draughtsperson, Sue Peachey, went to an all-girls school and completed a WISE (Women into Science and Engineering) work experience with Sainsbury’s on their Whitechapel Road building site in the 1990’s. Later joining Bourne as a graduate trainee (having completed both an engineering and a teaching degree), Sue has been instrumental in training new people, giving a more caring and guided approach to learning and passing on knowledge. She strongly advocates encouragement from an early age and getting that hands-on experience as soon as it is made available. We need to show the new generation that no job should be gender-assigned, and by reinforcing this ethos and providing mentorship, we can provide them with the tools that they need to succeed in our field.

From accounts to marketing, from HR to commercial management, the women of Bourne Group are serving as role models and helping to address the gender gap. They are breaking down stereotypes, cultivating a more inclusive work environment, and adding a greater diversity of perspectives and ideas in decision-making processes. We are always on the lookout for more female talent, and you can find our latest career opportunities here!