Introducing SWWiC

Who are South West Women in Construction?


We are a network of women with one thing in common: construction.  SWWIC provides women in the south west from any discipline, trade or organisation involved in construction with the opportunity to meet, network and share knowledge and experience.

What are we involved in?

As a member of SWWIC there are opportunities to become involved in a wide range of activities, from informal get-togethers, ‘behind the scenes’ site visits and presentations on topical issues affecting the industry. Of key importance to the majority of our members is our work to raise the awareness of careers in construction and opportunities available to women in this area.

Guest Speakers and Presentations

Keeping up to date with both industry innovations and regional issues is important to everyone. This is useful to both SWWIC and its members. A programme of events is organised throughout the year bringing a range of diverse and interesting topics to members. We are happy to promote events and activities organised by other groups within the sector, so if you have ideas for types of events and/or if your organisation would like to host or organise an event, contact us here with your ideas.

Breakfast networking

A great chance to meet and catch up with members, we run informal networking sessions over breakfast to ensure you can get back to work on time. These meetings are designed to give members an opportunity to have their say, providing a forum for new ideas and initiatives, as well as being available for any member who has a particular issue they wish to raise. These are a also great chance for new members to join in – you’ll be greeted by our New Members Co-Ordinator Cathryn who’ll introduce you to our existing members.

“Behind the scenes” site visits

We have been able to visit some amazing sites so far, from the renovations at Castle Drogo to digging in at the South Devon Link Road (most of our visits get to see what the general public never will!). Plus thanks to our connections, we also regularly get to meet the Royal Marines and be invited to the House of Parliament!

Social Events

Being a member of SWWIC undoubtedly holds business benefits, but we also like to make the most of our social side too! One of our most popular annual events is our Ladies with Influence lunches, where we get to meet and hear from inspirational guest speakers, such as Angela Rippon, Juliet Williams (when she was Chair of SWRDA), Carleen Kelemen (Chair of the Institute of Directors in Devon & Cornwall) and Beverley Warne (Managing Director of Pirate FM). These lunches are also the chance for all the members to get-together and celebrate our fund-raising efforts for our nominated charities.

want to know more?

If you are interested in finding out more, please feel free to explore this site by clicking on the links or contacting us at SWWIC.

SWWIC tour of Beckley Court- Plymouth


Thank you to Kier for the fantastic tour!

What a great tour the SWWIC members were greeted with on Friday 24th February, visiting the new student accommodation site in Plymouth.

Quoted as “Plymouth’s tallest building”, will contain 507 student rooms (a mix of cluster and studio apartments), commercial units on the ground floor as well as a panoramic viewing point on the top floor.


The building will stand at 78 meters high, the new building will dwarf the city’s current building, the Civic Centre.

We would like to express our thank you to Kier for taking the time out of their very busy schedules to show us all around.  Our visit followed scones and tea at Coffee Bean Plymouth.






SWWIC Graduate Award Application Form


One of SWWIC’s key activities is to offer practical support to women learning and studying any construction-related programme (from apprenticeship to degree).

This year (and we hope every year in the future), we are proud to be able to offer an award providing financial support for a female student who is in the final year of completing a full time construction-related degree course at Plymouth, Cornwall and Exeter universities. To apply for the award, you need to download the application form from this page and write a 250 word statement on why you want to have a career in construction / engineering / renewable energy / carbon reduction etc.

THE CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS IS NOVEMBER 16TH (details of where to send your application is contained in the form).

Additional date for your diary! If you win the award, you will be required to attend SWWIC’s December Breakfast Meeting on Friday 11th (7.45am start at The Treasury in Plymouth) to accept your award. The winner will be given one year’s free membership, plus, an invitation to attend at least one other event during the year.


First Class Builders looking for Building Surveying Director

Are you thinking of moving your career to the next ladder or do you know of anyone who might be interested in this role?

Newton Abbot based First Class Builders Ltd are looking to recruit a (full-time, permanent) Building Surveying Director to take over the responsibility from the MD for building surveying activities.

First Class Builders specialise in adapting domestic and commercial properties for people with limited mobility or disabilities, so an empathetic approach will be a must. Key to the role is conducting site surveys to understand specific client needs for people with limited mobility / disability needs, as well as for clients with full mobility.

The company needs an experienced building surveyor to develop this leadership role in all aspects of generating concept, through to the design and delivery of fully buildable solutions. As a senior position, supporting the MD, you would have responsibilities for the strategic direction and corporate governance of the company. An additional aspect involves undertaking the role of being one of the health and safety officers for the company, after the requisite training.

In essence, a team player who always aims for high standards.

If this role is for you, please contact SWWIC member Olivia Whiting on 01626 332210.

Who do you know who deserves an award?

Who do you know in the west country construction industry who deserves an award? The Western Morning News is promoting their Business Awards 2015 and want to encourage you, your firm and/or your clients to enter one of their business categories. Who knows, it may be you and your firm getting all the glory when they announce the winners at the Gala Awards Evening on November 11th at Sandy Park in Exeter.

The closing date for entries is Monday 5th October (click here to enter) and the shortlisted finalists will be announced in the Western Morning News just after.

There are a total of 14 categories – and you can enter as many as you like! Could your firm be the best Business or Employer of the year? Who do you know that deserves an Apprentice Award? Have you a client who has been particularly innovative? Here are your choice of 14:

  • Business of the Year
  • Small Business of the Year
  • Apprenticeship Award
  • Young Business Person of the Year
  • Customer Service Award
  • Employer of the Year
  • Sustainable Achievement Award
  • Innovation of the Year
  • Lifetime Achievement
  • Best Community Contribution
  • Best Business Start Up
  • Best Tourism or Hospitality Business
  • Exporter of the Year
  • Manufacturer of the Year

Remember – the closing date for entries is 5th October (click here to go to the WMN entry page). Good Luck!

Event Invite – Atrium Studio Site Visit

Friday 9th October 2015 – Atrium Studio, Balland Lane, Ashburton, TQ13 7EW

7.45am start for Breakfast and guided tour. Please note PPE will be required (hard hat, hi-vis, boots, glasses and gloves).

Atrium is a new government-funded school for students between the ages of 13 and 18 that specialises in the Built Environment – the first of its kind in the South West. Opening in September 2015 in a brand new, architect-designed building in Ashburton, the school will provide a stand-out education for students aspiring to a professional career in Architecture, Ecology, Engineering (structural, services and civil), Surveying and Planning).

Part of the ground-breaking Studio School movement, Atrium will pioneer a bold new approach to learning through enterprise projects and work placements, an approach that roots learning in the real world and stimulates students to think creatively, realise their potential and develop the skills they need to succeed in life.

We are delighted to be given a behind-the-scenes tour by the Principal, Matt Massias and SWWIC member Emma Fitzgerald who is a Governor at the school. And for those of you with an interest in football, please remember to ask Matt about his previous ‘life’ as a Premiership referee – and how he managed to knock out Robbie Savage!

Please click this link to download the invite. Please ensure your place(s) is/are paid for prior to attending.

SWWIC Ambassadors

Led by Jenny Tozer of Pavilion Construction and our Chair Lucy George-Foster, SWWIC has recently embarked on a Construction Ambassador Programme, which aims to inspire young people – especially girls – who are still in full time education to think about a career in the construction industry.

Thanks to the support of our members, we currently have 18 Construction Ambassadors with careers ranging from Architects, Engineers, Marketing, Business Development Managers, Surveyors, House Builders and Interior Designers.

They are available to attend careers events, presentations and talks in schools and colleges, seminars, activity days and coaching/mentoring opportunities – anywhere they can utilise their skills and experience to talk to and motivate young girls and women. They present ideal role models of how women can succeed in this sector as well as sending out positive messages about working in construction.

Women still only represent 12% of construction professionals, with the percentage dropping to 1% in manual trades. A recent Equal Opportunities Commission report
stated 80% of school-age girls were interested in learning to do a non-traditional job but few go into the construction industry. This is why the Ambassador programme was established – we recognised that parents and teachers especially need to have their mind-set changed from favouring girls going into more traditionally female-focused jobs, which sadly still have much lower pay levels and fewer career opportunities.

The SWWIC Ambassador programme is the right vehicle to get into schools, colleges and the media to portray the industry in a more positive light – thereby also encouraging more construction organisations to support women in the workplace and actively seek female apprentices.

SWWIC Ambassadors will help inspire young people still in full time education by helping to point them in the right direction for advice. Plus we know that the employers of our specially selected Ambassadors also benefit – from having an employee with additional skills and confidence through to the opportunity to raise their company profile.

If you would like to know more about SWWIC’s Ambassador programme, contact us now.


Join SWWiC for only £30 a year

JoinHere1Membership of SWWIC costs just £30 annually (plus we have a concession rate of only £10 for students) which gives you access to all our events, activities and knowledge sharing to help you advance your career. Membership is available to any woman working within the construction industry, from technical to support roles, from Directors and Partners to Apprentices.

As requested by our members, we are establishing a Membership Charter which sets out the expected behaviours and requirements of members. We have worked hard to establish and maintain our reputation for sharing knowledge and supporting our fellow professionals through educational visits and informal networking.

To join us please either:

Via on-line formplease click this link (or the image above) to go to our On-Line Membership Application Form and complete your details. We will contact you to confirm receipt of your application and provide payment methods for you to send us your membership fee. If you wish to claim the student concessionary rate, remember to tick the box and provide your student number.


Via Word document – please contact us and we will email you a Word document for you to complete and return. You can pay by BACS or send a Cheque (all details are enclosed within the form). Let us know if you wish to claim the student concessionary rate – we will need you to provide your student number and place of study.

We look forward to welcoming you along to our next event (click here to see what’s coming up soon).

Meet the Committee

Chair – Glayne Price (LHC Architects)

Glayne Price imageGlayne is a Chartered Architectural Technologist and the Technical Delivery Director for LHC Architects. Having worked her way up from being a junior she completed her HNC in Building Studies whilst being mentored at work.   She is particularly passionate about building design and in 2002 her efforts resulted in winning the business section of ‘Plymouth Women of Achievement’. This was a spring board for her career and in 2007 she was promoted to director, with specialist skills being design development and client & project management. Glayne’s proudest moment was the opening by The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall of the award winning £17m JCB Academy of which she had led the design delivery and on site processes over 6 years.

More recently, in 2016 the numerous project achievements were recognised when she was nominated and won The European Women in Construction & Engineering Awards ‘Best woman Architectural Technologist’ category.  Outside of work, field hockey is her passion, playing for Caradon Hockey Club (CHC) and Regional West Hockey over 45’s team – chosen from players in Cornwall up to Hampshire and Gloucestershire!

In early 2017, Glayne took over as chair of SWWIC.  We wish Glayne the best of luck and here is to the future of SWWIC.

Vice Chair- Kate Mills (Ward Williams Associates)

Committee_KateBased in WWA’s Plymouth office after moving back to the city in 2005, Kate was born and brought up in the city (her family have been jewellers in the city for over 120 years!). After gaining her degree at the University of Exeter, she work for many years in various sales and marketing roles with large FMCG companies before her return to the West Country in 2005.  She was offered a part-time role Aecom (when they were Scott Wilson) to help with Business Development.  Kate is now a partner at the well established firm Ward Williams Associates along with roles in various other committees.

For Kate, working in the construction industry means no two days are ever the same. A bit like her support for SWWIC, as she provides the marketing and management of events!

Treasurer – Emma Martin (Faithful + Gould)

Emma_PictureEmma is a Quantity Surveyor for Faithful + Gould, based in Exeter. She describes her route into the construction industry in 2006 as not being “a standard one” when she was told about a trainee QS role available at a local company. She didn’t know what a QS was (having attended an all-girls school) so had to do lots of research for her interview (discovering that it matched her analytical & mathematical skills perfectly!).

Her interview success now means she is working her way towards her Chartered status with the RICS as well as supporting SWWIC. She has since returned to her old school on numerous occasions to promote construction as a challenging and dynamic industry with a diverse range of career options for women – ensuring they all know what a QS does!

New Membership Co-ordinator  – Cathryn Bishop (Cornish Interiors)

Committee_CathrynCathryn runs her own interior design business, Cornish Interiors. Born and brought up in Cornwall, after graduating with a BA (Hons) in Interior & Spatial Related Design, she spent several years working for various property developers before setting up her own business. Cathryn and her team design and project manage all sorts of interior projects (from boutique hotels to large private homes) where she is as happy in steel toecaps and a hard hat as she is fluffing cushions!

Cathryn looks after our rapidly growing group of new members, making sure you will always be greeted at your first event, and introduced to our very friendly members. Outside of work, Cathryn enjoys eating in nice restaurants, staying in posh hotels and generally gazing at luxury interiors!

Marketing & Events Co-ordinator – Olivia Whiting (First Class Builders)

Olivia is an Office Administrator for First Class Builders
based in Kingsteignton. Her job involves a range of activities, including; creating the CAD designs of Olivia Graduatecustomers bathrooms, website marketing liaison, email marketing campaign creator, process time sheets for the workforce, organise office meetings, liaise both with the website team, the install side of the business as well as aiding with various tasks. She has been through her apprenticeship and then followed on to recently graduating with a Foundation Degree in Business and is currently in the process of studying for her BA, part time at the University of Plymouth.

Committee Role – Louise Creber (Aecom)

Louise CreberLouise joined AECOM in August 2015 to assist Kate Mills in a business development role covering Plymouth & Exeter Offices, so the SWWIC Committee also grabbed her administration skills to keep us on the straight and narrow! Her past experience includes marketing the new properties in Millbay for Muse Developments, Sales and PR acitivity for Plymouth Boat Trips and managing the client suite at the law firm Foot Anstey’s new flagship office in Salt Quay House, Sutton Harbour. Her strengths lie in winning business, first class customer service and event organisation.

Communications – Carla Wilkinson (Morgan Sindall)

Carla was elected by the group into the committee following Sue’s departure managingms-22908 the communications.  Carla has always actively promoted SWWIC and is pleased to now be apart of the committee.  Carla is a Marketing Manager for Morgan Sindall Construction dealing with pre construction, bid management, business development, community investment along with helping to run the offices within Devon.  Carla is part of many other committees and will look to help the committee come up with some exciting events for 2017, watch this space!!


Thelma Sorensen, OBE

Thelma is a passionate campaigner for the construction led initiatives in the South West of England and supports SWWIC through her wide-ranging networks and connections in the south west (such as the CIOB, Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Economic Forum, Cornwall Business Partnership and the Devon and Cornwall Business Council). She was awarded the OBE in 2010 in recognition of her contribution the economic regeneration of Cornwall.

Bernadette Parkinson – Plymouth Construction Training Group

Bernadette imageOriginally from Lancashire, Bernadette is one of the longest serving members of SWWIC and has been involved in many projects and innovative schemes during her 25 years in the construction industry to improve its recruitment of women. Her roles include Marketing, Property Development, (Carkeek and Alfred Mc Alpine) and Area Manager for the CITB, managing training of Apprentices; Business Improvement Advice and Guidance; Careers in Construction. This brings a unique knowledge to SWWIC in accessing funding and partnerships to develop SWWIC Members and projects, such as a Partnership with FMB which funded the L3 CMI project in Mentoring for members).

Currently Bernadette is, in association with CITB & Devon and Plymouth Construction Training Groups, the training of the SWWIC Ambassadors, which is ongoing with follow up training and recruitment. Plus she is organising and managing the “Non-Graduate” Apprentice SWWIC Award Annually with local employers and training providers.

Event Invite – Ladies with Influence Lunch

We are delighted to invite you to this year’s Ladies With Influence Lunch on Friday 25th September 2015, which is to be held in the exquisite setting of the Hotel Endsleigh in Milton Abbot (for those that have not been before, this is The Hotel Inspector Alex Polizzi’s own hotel).

Our Guest Speaker is Bev Hurley CBE, who is Chief Executive of YKTO, one of the UK’s leading authorities on female entrepreneurship. We guarantee you’ll be inspired!

I hope you are able to join us for what has become a very popular and high profile SWWIC event. Please feel free to circulate the attached invitation among your colleagues, friends and family.

We very much look forward to enjoying your company.

Please click this link to download the invite and menu choices. Please ensure your place(s) is/are paid for prior to attending.