Building a framework for women in construction

Claire Ryan, an Estates officer at mental health / disability services provider, Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, has become the first female winner of a regional award which recognises her commitment to the study of construction.

She has sucessfully balanced her studies -- working towards an HNC Diploma in Constrruction and the Built Environment -- with the responsibilities of her day-to-day role. The John Hulme Award from the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) recognises ‘the exceptional results of an individual’s persistent and consistent approach to their studies’.

‘Elated’ to find she had won, she said: “It’s a great feeling to be recognised in this way. Construction is a male-dominated world, and when I first started with the Estates Department at LPFT, most of the time I was the only woman in the Mechanical and Engineering meetings.  Over time, I managed to find my voice in meetings and make an impact. I am part of a class of 10, all being male apart from me, and all with a trade behind them. I am an ex-hairdresser and beauty therapist who started working for the Trust within management accounts and now estates, and my job path couldn’t be any more different to theirs.

“To be recognised for the hard work I’ve put in to complete this course is a true honour. I’m the first to admit I’ve had wobbles along the way, and I could have quit at times, but I’m so pleased I didn’t. In light of winning this award, I want to tell women in this field that you should never give up, because you really can do it.”

Neil Smith, Claire’s HE tutor at Derby College, said: “I am thrilled that Claire received this award, she is a deserving recipient. She possesses an inquisitive mind, is not afraid to take on a challenge, and has a self-driven attitude that will be an asset to her moving forward. She is studious, very hard- working, and a confident individual.”

John Clarke, associate director of Estates and Facilities at LPFT, who works with Claire Ryan, said: “In line with the Trust’s ambitions, we supported Claire in furthering her academic training through day release so she could not only realise her personal potential, but deliver a great service in the Trust. Throughout her academic studies, Claire has continued to carry out her substantive duties to the usual high standards, and provide support to the Trust and her colleagues. As she gained experience in the practical delivery of projects, she was able to develop her skills to further contribute to the earlier stages of projects involving design, development, and delivery.

“I would encourage anyone to try to reach their full potential as Claire has. The culture of the Trust supports individuals to develop themselves, and by providing that support, I think both the Trust and individuals benefit.”

Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust provides specialist health and social care services for people with a learning disability and /or mental health issues.