At Checkmate, we are ‘dedicated to changing the stereotypes that women face when it comes to careers by giving them new opportunities’ – although heavily male dominated, the construction industry has many places where women can advance and build a career for themselves.
Following both ‘International Women’s Day’ and ‘Women in Construction Week’ last month, we decided to catch up with 2 of our newest team-mates; Contracts Manager, Sarah Robertson, and Checkmate’s first ever female Site Supervisor, Charlene Clarke.
Both joining our southern team a few short weeks ago, we are so excited to welcome these successful and talented individuals to the Checkmate family!
Sarah Robertson - Contracts Manager
As one of our first female contracts manager hires (shoutout to the wonderful Hayley Goodall, who progressed to this position last year), Sarah is already fully immersed in multiple fire-stopping contracts across all our sectors – and doing a fantastic job.
Being a Woman in Construction – in Sarah’s Words
Speaking on her experience as a female in construction, Sarah said; “there’s been a lot of change for women across the last few years, and there’s no denying that slowly, gender equality is becoming more prevalent. However, in terms of site-based roles, it’s a rare occurrence when I see another woman out there, and I think that is a shame.
So far, being at Checkmate is amazing, and I feel as though I am treated the same as my male counterparts – but I know this isn’t reflective industry-wide. While I’ve never been intimidated or threatened to be the only woman on a construction site, I know this is the exception, not the rule.
I think women in general are becoming more independent – stronger, and tougher – and we need our colleagues to celebrate this, whoever they are. I truly believe in equality both ways; we must get to a point where hiring is based on the person, irrespective of gender."
Mum to 3 children and 2 rescue dogs, as well as being a keen dog-trainer, and a full-time manager, we’re a little bit convinced that Sarah may be a superhero?!
Beginning her management career in the retail sector, Charlene’s first foray into construction was in 2017, when she joined one of the UK’s largest infrastructure maintenance and property services businesses.
Feeling that she’d reached her potential, she was headhunted by Checkmate in February, where she was put forward for the site supervisor role by one of our contract managers. Joining our family in March, Charlene is already expertly overseeing a wide range of fire door contracts across our hospital and healthcare sectors in the south.
What Women Bring to the Table – in Charlene’s Words
Explaining her experience in construction, Charlene said; “To date, I’ve only ever had male managers. Because I’ve always wanted to progress and lead collaboratively, without autocracy, I’ve made it my goal to take one positive and one negative from each, so that I can improve my own leadership skills. Having worked with my current manager, Rod, at a previous company, he didn’t hesitate to recommend me for this job. Females are frequently overlooked for promotion within the construction industry, so I was delighted that my tenacity had paid off, and Rod recognised that.
In a nutshell, I genuinely believe men and women offer different things, and it is remiss of companies and managers not to provide employees with the best and most diverse combination of people. In my experience, women tend to provide greater empathy, attention to detail, and we have the determination to excel that can only be instilled by being part of a minority group. Recruiting only from a male pool of applicants restricts companies from growth and development, and I’m pleased to see Checkmate is ahead of the curve on this. Learning from each other is absolutely fundamental to business success.”
As a site-supervising rockstar, a secret baker and a proud upcycling enthusiast, we’re getting Charlene involved in our sustainability endeavours, as well as hoping we can persuade her to bring us some cake on a regular basis…!
HUGE welcome to both Sarah and Charlene, we can’t wait to continue our journey together.
Women in Construction Week
Having been put forward as one of Checkmate’s ‘exceptional women’ by our Chief Financial Officer, we were delighted to have a quick catch up with our Head of Finance, Sophie Earnshaw.
International Women's Day - #ChooseToChallenge
At Checkmate, our MISSION is “To forge inclusive work cultures where women's careers thrive and achievements are celebrated”.
With this in mind, we have taken the opportunity to catch up with Checkmate’s Head of HR, Natalie Toas, to see what being a senior woman in construction is really like….
Checkmate pledge over 2000 hours to UK charities
Supporting the communities in which we operate is vital for achieving effective delivery and positive relationships - and we are proud to go the extra mile in engaging and helping those around us – playing our part in creating a better society.