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Abi 1

Women in Construction Week: Abi building a career with Lindum

York College Construction Award winner Abi-Casidi Harrop believes her T Level work placement with the Lindum Group has given her valuable experience “of seeing a project evolve and reach completion from the agreement of a contract to the finished building”.

Abi is currently in the second year of her Design, Surveying and Planning T Level course and carrying out her required 315 work placement hours on a once-a-week basis with the construction company that has offices in York, Lincoln and Peterborough.

Her efforts during the first year of her studies saw Abi presented with the prestigious Governors’ Prize at our 2023 Construction Awards.

Tutor Ian Walker, who nominated her for the award, described at the time how she was “always fully engaged in tasks, conscientious and willing to act on feedback with an excellent work ethic”.

He also spoke of her being a great role model for other T Level Construction students and that she was always the first to raise her hand to ask a question during site visits.

To mark International Women in Construction Week and National Careers Week, we thought it was the perfect time to catch up with Abi as she continues to impress during her placement at Lindum, where she has been assisting the estimating and quantity surveying teams with a business that is fully committed to achieving gender equality in a historically male-dominated profession.

Outlining that pledge, Lindum Group Head of HR Warren Glover said: “The construction industry has been a traditionally male sector, particularly at senior levels, but we don’t believe it has to stay that way. Lindum remains committed to equal opportunities and fairness in our recruitment, development, promotion and reward practices.

“We’ve been proactive in tackling our Gender Pay Gap, already embedding a range of targeted initiatives to accelerate change and address obstructions to female participation at all levels which are reflected in our improving figures. We are reviewing our business practices with a view to identifying new initiatives, specifically in the area of family friendly working practices, which we see as crucial in enabling us to secure improvement in this critical area.

“We still believe the key element to improving the Gender Pay Gap is through the increased recruitment of more females into the construction sector as a whole. At Lindum we continually assess what we offer from a female perspective to identify flexible packages that match the needs of women in employment.”

Female employees regularly attend school visits, meanwhile, to share their experience of working in the construction industry with pupils, and the example of Pauline Brown is regularly cited as somebody who rose from the role of founder’s secretary to chair of the group in 1988.

Women also currently hold Managing Director positions for divisions within the company.

Abi has certainly felt welcomed by everybody at Lindum and, on the benefits of her placement, she said: “I think it allows for more one-to-one learning and gives you an insight into the reality of working. It shows different people’s life experiences in the work sector and how they deal with problems and how to tackle situations.

“The T Level has helped my understanding of a project outline and the work placement has helped me appreciate the reality of seeing a project evolve and reach completion from the agreement of a contract to the finished building. By looking through contracts and Design and Project Plans, I’ve also gained a greater understanding of material, cost, design and health and safety.”

Abi, who plays rugby and has been an Army Cadet since the age of 12, went on to add that she has appreciated the structured approach to her learning and development and valued the opportunity to gain experience both in the office and on the worksite.

“I think that a good plan of what is going to be learnt is key from the start of your placement and that has helped me, because it becomes easier to track your progress as the days go on,” she explained. “It was especially helpful at the start, when I was learning the software, to know what I had completed before moving on.

“I also enjoy being in the office as well as the days when I can go on site and I’m learning about measurement and estimating, which helps with both costs and design, too. I get support from Simon Boden, who oversees all that, while Tracey Hayes is looking after my wellbeing on placement.”

Commenting on the positive impact Abi has made during her time with Lindum, a company spokesperson said: “Abi has always been a practical person, who also enjoys maths and design so, when it came to choosing a career path, she was looking to fulfil both interests.

“Abi’s stepfather works as a Health and Safety Manager within the construction industry, which led her to consider construction as a realistic career for her. She has since found that construction provides an ideal blend, giving her the opportunity to apply maths and scientific skills to practical work, whether that’s in the office or on site.

“She has been developing her understanding of the different roles in construction and deepening the practical knowledge she has gained through her course. Abi’s tutor recommended that she came to Lindum and, since she started her placement with our York team, she has been assisting the estimating and quantity surveying departments.

“She has been working on several projects, helping to measuring up and also with pricing on potential projects coming into the company. She has been looking at budgets, too, and snagging issues on existing jobs, which has included site visits.

“Abi has told us that all of this real-life experience in the industry has helped her with her college work and provided clarity on what her next steps might be once her course finishes. She may go on to university to study further, but there is also a desire to remain at Lindum and pursue a career in either quantity surveying or estimating.”

To learn more about our T Level in Construction: Design, Surveying and Planning, please click here

For more details on National Women in Construction Week, please click here

More information on the Lindum Group can be found here

You can also discuss our T Level and vocational courses at our next Open Event on Tuesday, March 19th. To register a place, click here