Mistakes to Avoid During an Office Fit-Out or Refurbishment

Committing to a new office Fit-Out or Refurbishment is a significant undertaking. There are a lot of moving parts involved and you need your brand-new office up and running again as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, there are many mistakes people make when carrying out a Fit-Out or Refurbishment. We’ve listed some of the top pitfalls to avoid:

Set Aside Sufficient Time Before the Project Begins

Carrying out a refurbishment or fit-out is a big task, no matter the size of the project, a lot of work needs to get done. In the midst of all the work, it’s likely that there will be one or two unforeseen hiccups that slow down proceedings. In order to ensure that this doesn’t cause the whole house of cards to tumble, you need to ensure ample time is allowed for the works. This will allow everyone on site to do what they do best, without any unnecessary added pressure landing on their shoulders part of the way through the project.

Always Have a Contingency Sum Available

As we’ve previously stated, a lot can happen during a project, sometimes there are unforeseen works that creep up on even the most diligent planners among us. These hidden works can end up requiring some extra budget to be added on; when this happens, you do not want to come up short. Having a safety net is important in all aspects of life, so it should be a habit you retain throughout your next fit-out or refurbishment project, too.

Plan your Fit-Out/Refurbishment Properly

By this, we mean that everything you want should be accurately planned in the planning stage. That does seem obvious as I write it, but many clients are overly focused on cost-cutting in the planning stages. This leads to them leaving out aspects of their vision to reduce spending, only to later add them back in while work is underway.

When this happens, budgets swell, deadlines stretch and tempers fray. Effective planning of your Fit-Out / Refurbishment is crucial to its success; make sure it’s done right.

Teamwork is Everything

To ensure a project is completed successfully, everyone involved needs to be singing from the same page. By working together, it is much more likely that a project will run smoothly. Contractors, architects, surveyors and engineers: all of these people are experts in their field, trust them. Clients who disregard the advice of the people they’re hiring are often the ones who come unstuck. Only by working together can we bring the client’s vision to life and ensure the project is delivered successfully, on-time and on-budget.

Include Everyone

Make sure you involve everyone that will be affected by this project. That means current employees and other companies you work with on a regular basis. Divisions such as IT and Security should be consulted on all plans, as they themselves will have a lot to set up after the project has completed.

Whether it’s the implementation of a server set-up, the connection of the network or the alarm systems, other people need to be kept in the loop when a Fit-Out or Refurbishment is taking place.

And last but not least…

You may also want to let the neighbours know to expect a little extra noise for the duration of the project!

Do you have an upcoming project? Get in touch with us, we’d love to discuss it with you!

Worksmart in the Community

Our Local Community

Worksmart embrace and believe in supporting our local community in numerous different ways. This includes being involved with various local charities, and supporting local causes that empower local people and help to grow the local economy.

Some such charities we work closely with include Centrestage, a community-based organisation who run events, classes, meet-ups, shows and more. Their ethos is based on Fun, Food and Folk, and they provide lots of great entertainment and learning opportunities for people around Kilmarnock.

Partnership with Ayrshire College

As well as this, we are very involved with local schools and colleges. Local apprentices join Worksmart every year and among other works will often be involved in projects in local organisations. Most recently we have seen this with our works at Ayrshire College and Kilmarnock Football Club.

In the case of the former, some of the apprentices were literally working on their own college, as they attend the academic part of their apprenticeships at Ayrshire College – another part of our ongoing partnership. By taking on local apprentices we see it as investing in our industry and helping to ensure that we will have enough skilled labour in years to come.

Supporting our Local Club

Nothing brings Worksmart more pride than seeing its name up around Kilmarnock F. C’s Rugby Park Stadium. The Club’s home ground has undergone extensive regeneration in recent years, with Worksmart Contracts being heavily involved in the refurbishment works within the stadium. The all-new Champions Lounge is a place where people can enjoy the atmosphere and hospitality offered by Kilmarnock F.C and experience the history of the Club.

Recently, Worksmart has worked on the new restaurant within the Park Hotel, which adjoins onto the football stadium. This interior refurbishment has created a modern and comfortable feel for hotel and dinner guests, and has taken yet another part of the local community up a level. It has also created more jobs and opportunities for local people in the process.

Ayrshire Samaritans

The Ayrshire Samaritans are another fantastic organisation doing wonderful things for our local community. They work tirelessly to help people suffering from things such as depression and help people come back from dark places. Worksmart try to promote their services whenever possible, and raise money to help their cause. If anyone is reading this who has been going through a tough time and doesn’t know where to turn, you should click here.

Pushing Boundaries

Worksmart have been working with the Women in Construction & Women in Property programmes for some time now. These programmes are working to raise awareness in the industry and increase the number of women working within the construction industry.

Over the last year or so, we have dispatched our own emissaries to various high-profile events within our industry aimed at promoting more female involvement within the construction industry. These events are a melting pot of ideas and inspiration; you can read about Kellie-Ann’s recent trip to the Women in Construction here.

Recognition

This year, our first ever female joinery apprentice received the prestigious John Mathers Trust Award for her career achievements during her time with Worksmart. Briony collected her award at a ceremony held at Ayrshire College back in March and it’s not only a testament to her hard work, but the hard work of people fighting for a more diverse and accepting workforce.

Change is happening within our industry and Worksmart are proud to be helping shift attitudes on the matter.

Our Future

Going forward, Worksmart will remain heavily involved with organisations and projects within our local community, as well as programmes that we believe are for the good of our industry. We are a company with certain visions and values which we wish to uphold and never stray from.

You can keep up-to-date with everything going on at Worksmart by following us on our social media channels.

If you’d like to be a part of the Worksmart Family, you can view our job vacancies here.

If Worksmart sounds like a company you’d like to get into business with, fill out an enquiry form here and we will get back to you to discuss your project needs.

How Worksmart Deliver Value to Clients

In today’s world the expectations and demands placed upon those in the industry are high. We are doing more work, in tighter timeframes and for less money. Every company within the sector has three main areas in which they must compete: Cost, quality and differential.

“Why should we use Worksmart?” is asked in relation in all three before projects are awarded our clients and their professional teams.

Cost

Worksmart use trained and experienced estimators and quantity surveyors to calculate and build our professional tender submissions. These highly experienced professionals are aided by strong relationships in our sub-contracting and supply chain, right through to our site managers, project managers, joiners and apprentices.

This level of depth allows our estimators and surveyors to ensure cost is accurate, reliable and at a very competitive level. Being able to remain competitive is how we have been able to secure tenders and, most importantly, retain clients and achieve repeat business with them, as well as forging strong client relationships.

Quality

The Worksmart team is made up of highly experienced professionals, each of whom is performing at the very top of their field. Worksmart is always looking to strengthen the team with individuals who demonstrate excellence in their area of expertise. By bringing in the hardest working and most meticulous individuals, the level of the team is improved and other people become more motivated.

Having such high standards among individuals means the bar is constantly being raised and the level of work improves each and every day. This is reflected in the quality and precision of the works we are able to produce for our clients.

The proof is most certainly in the pudding, so you can click here to view a range of our previous case studies.

Differential 

We use a vast array of different avenues to support our clients. We believe this is becoming one of the most frequently asked questions by people in the industry. Worksmart’s aim is to create and develop a business that our staff want to work for, and one that clients want to work with. We continue to actively develop our team’s culture in order to help us develop as a business.

Worksmart have a proven track record in working in all market sectors with a variety of size, complexity and with various programme requirements and operational times. We have demonstrable success in all commercial market sectors, from commercial office interiors to education, healthcare, the public sector, leisure, retail and industrial markets.

We work closely with everyone involved in a project for the benefit of each and every party. This dedication to the final outcome is what allows us to produce such superior work. Our strengths also lie in our geography. With office locations in Kilmarnock, Edinburgh, Glasgow and London & Brussels, we are never too far from any of our clients, should they wish to meet. This gives us a distinct advantage over many of our competitors and makes life much easier for the people we work with.

In order to remain as open and accessible as possible, we continue to adhere to our policy of our directors and senior managers being completely accessible to clients. Many clients approach us with horror stories of not being able to communicate freely with past contractors. We decided early on that we would never be that type of company. We believe in communication throughout all stages of a project. This involves the sharing of ideas and concerns in order to ensure complete client satisfaction during a project.

Get in Touch

If you have any upcoming projects or would like to learn more about Worksmart, we would be delighted to have a conversation. Get in touch with us here or give us a call on 01563 53 55 11.

 

My Four Week Construction Placement at Kilmarnock F.C.

Not many young football fans get to spend time at the club they love after the full-time whistle has gone, but that’s exactly what happened to Fynlay. He was lucky enough to land a work experience placement, not only in the construction industry, but also at his beloved Kilmarnock Football Club! Fynlay was kind enough to document everything about the experience for Worksmart Contracts…

Being a Kilmarnock Football Club fan and knowing Worksmart Contracts, I decided to make contact to see if there was a possibility of an extended schools’ placement. I felt this would be the perfect way to gain experience in the construction industry between completing my fourth-year exams and returning to do my Highers after the summer.

I was invited to attend an interview in Worksmart’s Kilmarnock office and was made very comfortable by everyone I met. I was asked to go through my CV, tell them about myself and what I was doing both in and out of school.

Fortunately, my previous placement experience with James Guthrie, a local solicitor in Kilmarnock, gave me a lot to talk about. Coincidentally, both Worksmart and James Guthrie have been sponsors of my football team, Hurlford, over the last few seasons.

The interview was good and I felt at ease as I have previously done mock interviews and talks with Worksmart at my school. These exercises are designed to help prepare young people for these exact types of situations, and I’m pleased to report it made a big difference!

Killie’s New Summer Signing!

I was lucky enough to secure a four-week contract, which included some great perks, decent rates and holiday pay! I had done some work in construction before but nothing like what I was going to be getting into this time.

I had my HR Induction in the office then taken to site with all my brand-new PPE kit ready to work. After meeting the Management Team, I was taken to another induction and met with all the on-site people. Everyone looked after me and made me look at safety and lifting etc. All the joiners, electricians, plumbers, painters, ventilation teams, flooring, and so many more trades were all great with me. It was amazing to see so many different trades doing their thing on a project.

As much as I was enjoying the work and the team, my favourite thing every day was seeing the Killie team and meeting the new Killie Manager. The Kilmarnock Football Club board would even say hello and ask how I was getting on! It was brilliant, and all because I was part of a large team ripping out and fitting out the lounges and facilities for Kilmarnock Football Club.

One of my friends also secured a work placement for a week, so it was great for us to be working together on site with the teams.

Back to School

Now that I have finished my work placement and I’m back at school, I can look back and be proud of having been a part something special at my favourite Club. Everyone I have spoken to absolutely loves the new facilities. The entire Worksmart team has done an incredible job.

I am also really proud to say that while I was working, I saved my wages and bought my junior season ticket as well as the new Killie top. It’s great knowing that my first wage went on something special… oh, and I also got a wee surprise for my maw and paw, just to keep them on my side!

I loved working in Construction and I’m now thinking that once I get my grades and make it to Law School, I can study Construction Law… or better yet play for Killie!

Thanks to everyone at Worksmart and all the subbies for letting me help them.

How to Choose the Right Fit-Out/Refurbishment Contractor

Carrying out a Fit-Out or Refurbishment can be a massive undertaking for a client, as an Architect or Surveyor, it’s crucial you steer them in the right direction and choose the correct contractor. We’ve devised a list of crucial checkpoints you need to consider before choosing a Fit-Out/Refurbishment contractor for your next project.

Do your Research!

The process of selecting the right contractor begins with research, research and more research! Ask around for advice, speak to their past or current clients; even in this digital age, word of mouth reigns supreme when it comes to reputation. Check each supplier’s credentials and evaluate all your options carefully and thoroughly.

Identify your Client’s Needs

Making sure you and your client have established a brief beforehand is equally important. If your client is only looking for a small-scale refurbishment, you don’t want to be wasting time speaking to companies that specialises in huge projects that span entire buildings.

Check they can Handle the Project

Your Fit-Out partner should be able to provide a comprehensive turnkey service that covers all aspects of the project at hand. You want the project to run as smoothly as possible, the best way to guarantee that is by choosing a contractor who have an in-house team of experts across different disciplines.

Check their Accreditation

Make sure to ask to see all the necessary accreditation before choosing a Fit-Out company. Accreditations are the hallmark of a trustworthy contractor. It displays a willingness to produce quality work, as well as the professionalism and discipline needed to keep on top of such matters.

Check their Portfolio

Have a look at their past work. If they produce great work, it will be displayed on their website and across their social media and marketing materials. Make sure you’re choosing a partner who can ‘wow’ you with the quality of their work and the expertise that has gone into creating it.

Talk Health & Safety!

Health and Safety can often make people switch off and want to change the subject. We get it, it’s not the most fun topic to talk about, but it’s one of the most important! Make sure your chosen contractor is on the ball with everything to do with Health and Safety. What measures do they take? What would they do if something went wrong? Is everyone aware of these protocols? The right Fit-Out company will be one who takes every detail of Health and Safety seriously.

Check they have Insurance

Just like accreditations and Health & Safety, making sure there’s insurance in place is vital. Unfortunately, from time to time, things can go wrong, and when it does, you’re going to need the right insurance. Make sure your chosen Fit-Out company has the correct level of insurance and that it can cover the cost of the project, should something go wrong.

Investigate their Finances

It’s important to look into a company’s finances before entering into an agreement with them. If they don’t have strong finances behind them, you could be faced with problems further down the line.

Talk Budget

Is the company being up front with you about costs and budget? If not, then maybe they shouldn’t be trusted with such a project. A professional and diligent company will have a track record of working within budget on past projects. Ask about this. If a company is financially reliable, they’ll be happy to openly discuss projected costs and potential pitfalls of a project.

Are they going to be Good Partners?

This might seem simplistic, but it’s imperative you choose a Fit-Out contractor that you feel you will be able to work with. Make sure you have a good rapport with the key people in the organisation. If you can’t stand working with someone or there are likely to be unhealthy disagreements, your project is going to be a nightmare. Again, a good thing to do would be to ask around about the company in order to see what they’re like to work with.

To get in touch with us to discuss an upcoming project, click here

Refurbishment Works at Park Hotel Ayrshire

WORKSMART Contracts are delighted to announce that we have been selected as the refurbishment contractor for new works at The Park Hotel in Kilmarnock. The Ayrshire hotel, which is adjoined to Kilmarnock F.C’s Rugby Park Football Stadium, has been granted funding to modernise its facilities.

The works at the four-star hotel include a full refurbishment of the existing café/bar space within the hotel. A new restaurant will be developed in its place and be called The Park Hotel Restaurant. This will include the formation of new seating, a new servery and bar area and general demarcation of the space.

In addition, the project will see the creation of an all new conference and hospitality suite. Worksmart Contracts will do this by revamping the existing restaurant currently situated on the first floor of the hotel. The Park Hotel Suite will include a feature glazed partition, which will overlook the ground floor area.

Worksmart Contracts’ Owner Steve Neilson said: “Once again Worksmart are proud to working alongside other great Ayrshire businesses and helping to strengthen and grow our local community. It’s a matter of pride for us to be working projects like this in our home town and we can’t wait for people to see the results.”

The works will create up to 20 new jobs at The Park Hotel and be completed sometime in the Autumn.

Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to keep up to date with the latest updates from the project. Feeling impatient and want to see some finished projects? Head over to our Case Studies page.

Life as a Trainee Quantity Surveyor

Having recently joined the Worksmart team through our Graduate Program, Cameron Maudsley talks to us about life as a Trainee Quantity Surveyor. Cameron has a bright future ahead of him and is a great role model for other young people looking to enter the industry.

How long have you been with Worksmart Contracts and how have you found settling in?

I have been at Worksmart for just under 2 months so far but since my first day I have felt very welcome within the company. After being introduced and working alongside the team, it is obvious that Worksmart Contracts go to serious lengths to provide an enjoyable and positive working environment. This helps to ensure the team are as productive and efficient as possible.

After only 2 months of employment I have been accepted as a valued employee, making the settling in process very enjoyable and straightforward.

Describe your role and the responsibilities you have within Worksmart?

The team have been incredibly eager to push my abilities forward by consistently adding new roles and responsibilities to my job. The tasks I’ve been given the responsibility of dealing with include: attending sites and writing up reports, engaging and building relationships with subcontractors, as well as taking measurements from architect’s drawings.

Is this what you’ve always wanted to do?

During my years throughout high school I always took an interest Mathematics and Physics as they were based on calculations that were applicable to everyday life. However, I had no thoughts as to what career path I wanted to pursue. After carefully researching my options and discovering the Quantity Surveying (BSc) course at Edinburgh Napier University, I was intrigued. The concept that a job could involve problem solving in both an office and on-site appealed to me and encouraged me to apply for the course. Working in the construction field as a Trainee Quantity Surveyor in Worksmart Contracts has enhanced my enthusiasm for the job and reassured me of my decision.

How did your working relationship with Worksmart materialise?

I was given the opportunity to work for Worksmart Contracts through Edinburgh Napier University after my course leader received an email from the Commercial Manager offering an opportunity to interview regarding a Trainee Quantity Surveyor position.

How would you describe Worksmart as a company and how do you feel you have been supported as a graduate?

Worksmart have been very supportive of my career by ensuring that I am always taking on new tasks to expand my knowledge of the field of work. They have invested in me as an individual and are constantly pushing me forward so that I may learn new skills to be the become an experienced Quantity Surveyor at the end of my training.

Do you feel students at university are given enough encouragement and support to move into grad schemes?

For my first few years in university, I was aware that graduate apprenticeship schemes existed but wasn’t aware of how beneficial they could be. My time spent working as a Trainee Quantity Surveyor has expanded my knowledge which has helped me grasp concepts of my course that will help me in my future years of studying.

How do you think Worksmart’s graduate program compares to others that you have read about, spoke to people about etc?

Personally, Worksmart’s graduate program offers a lot more benefits to other programs that I am aware of through course mates, friends and colleagues. This is due to the value I have been given as an employee opposed to being treated like a number in a system which has been the case for multiple friends working graduate apprenticeships within the construction industry.

Where would you like to be in 5 years career wise?

In 5 years’ time I would hope to be a fully Qualified Quantity Surveyor and dealing with my own individual projects within Worksmart.

What’s your best piece of advice for someone in the position you were in 5 years ago?

The advice I’d give to someone in the position I was in 5 years ago would be to encourage them to ensure they choose a career path based on the subjects they enjoy the most. Having a solid foundation in the core subjects involved in a job is key to advancing your career.

When you’re not in the office or on site, what do you like getting up to?

Outside of my job I enjoy playing guitar, mountaineering and travelling.

If you could choose to do any other job in the world, what would it be and why?

If I didn’t have the opportunity to be a Quantity Surveyor and had the option of any job, I would have chosen to be an astronomer due to my interest in physics and space.

Interested in joining the Worksmart Family? View our recruitment page here. 

Benefits of a Fit-Out or Refurbishment to a College

For the past several years, Worksmart Contracts has enjoyed a mutually beneficial working relationship with Ayrshire’s largest educational institution: Ayrshire College. This affiliation has seen Worksmart carry out a variety of works at both the Ayr and Kilwinning Campuses. These projects have proved to be hugely advantageous to the College and Worksmart.

Heather Dunk OBE was Principal of Ayrshire College for five years before retiring in March, and oversaw the works being carried out by Worksmart Contracts. Her successor Carol Turnbull is the new Principal and Chief Executive of Ayrshire College. Worksmart Contracts is looking forward to continuing our mutually beneficial relationship.

Before stepping down, Heather Dunk OBE was kind enough to give us her time and shared some of her thoughts on carrying out a Fit Out or Refurbishment at a college. Below, we’ve outlined some of the key benefits outlined by the former Principal.

Selecting the Right Contractor

The first thing any College or University needs to consider when carrying out a Fit Out or Refurbishment project is the choice of contractor. It’s essential that a thorough and robust screening process is carried out and that the correct company are selected. Things to remember during the selection process is that you need a company who can not only be trusted and have an excellent reputation, but also one that can remain competitive on price.

Timescales

The bulk of any Refurbishment or Fit Out within a College or University needs to be done during the summer months. This will allow the work to occur with minimal interference and for the students’ academic studies to go undisturbed.

With this being the case, it leaves a very tight window for a project to be undertaken. For Colleges and Universities, this means finding a contractor who can set accurate deadlines and are able to work within those timescales without delays.
Worksmart Contracts have a reputation of being able to deliver on-time, on-budget and to a very high standard. Because of this, we have been able to forge a successful relationship with Ayrshire College.

Benefits to the Students

Education

Worksmart has created a new Hospitality and Tourism Suite, Early Years Education spaces and Health and Social Care spaces. These areas are able to replicate the real-world conditions students will face after graduation. Being able to accurately display what students will find in industry is hugely important for their education.

The creation of these new learning spaces is the best way to ensure students are receiving the best possible education during their time at Ayrshire College. By granting them these facilities, Ayrshire College are giving them a higher chance of succeeding in after graduation.

Student Experience

Providing modern and attractive learning and social spaces for students has a huge impact on morale and vigour. This can be especially difficult in older buildings that were developed in the 60s and 70s. This was the issue facing the Ayr and Kilwinning Campuses of Ayrshire College.

By undertaking a refurbishment of the highest standards, we were able to make these two campuses feel like new buildings that can rival brand new campuses. This leads to higher student morale, more inspired individuals and can spark a greater thirst for learning and achievement.

Opportunity

There is no greater learning experience for a student than getting hands-on in a real-world environment. By working with Ayrshire College, we regularly give students the opportunity to come on site visits and give them a glimpse into what the industry is really like.

Finding placements as a student can often be the difference between getting a job after graduating or not. Our partnership with Ayrshire College has led to several students being given placement opportunities, not just in the construction side, but also in the marketing and administration side of Worksmart Contracts. This type of experience can prove to be invaluable when it comes to seeking employment.

Another way that has proven to be hugely positive for both Worksmart and the industry as a whole has been our continued development of females getting into the Construction Industry.

Our first ever female joinery apprentice has been greatly involved in projects with Ayrshire College, engaging with students and helping to inspire and teach them about a potential career and opportunities in the industry.

Women in Construction

I attended the Scotland Build Expo at Glasgow SEC a few weeks ago and sat in on the Women in Construction panel discussion. I wasn’t sure what to expect but was pleasantly surprised by how busy the hub was, especially compared with the other workshops. The women on the panel were discussing the gender imbalance and inequality currently happening within construction. You don’t have to be a full-blown feminist to be offended by some of the stories that were being shared.

They were discussing how this feeling is represented by seemingly small and simple things such as attending a site and there being no female toilets. Likewise, it can be in the form of a meeting that you are supposed to be tendering, but which consists of your client directing his full attention and conversation towards your male counterpart, completely ignoring you in the process.

The audience were also encouraged to participate and share their own stories and experiences. There was one instance of a female property developer with a vision for a large area of land, but when it came to financing her project, the finance company she approached hummed and hawed before suggesting she use her husband’s name on the application, instead of her own. She rightly retorted by stating she certainly wouldn’t be using that finance company – now or in the future!
The discussion was focused on moving forward and supporting women by encouraging them to speak up and challenge things they don’t agree with, empowering them to ask questions and giving them the confidence to do so.

They all pointed out that the industry was getting better and they could all see positive changes, but also that these issues have not yet been eradicated completely. I was quite shocked listening to the stories being exchanged, especially in this day and age.

Thankfully, I have never personally experienced any form of sexism or noticed a gender imbalance within Worksmart Contracts and have always received the same treatment as my male colleagues. I was curious to find out if any of my peers had experienced any form of gender discrimination but I’m pleased to say none of my Worksmart colleagues had. In fact, they all reported that they had only ever felt encouraged and supported. I was really pleased to hear that, and it made me thankful to work within such an inclusive environment.

Unfortunately, it was a different story when chatting with other people at the Expo! One, a highly successful award-winning site manager, had experienced her fair share of gender imbalance and consistently felt as though she had to prove herself, even to her subordinates. While she admits her age may have played a part (she was only 25), she felt her gender was an issue on several occasions and held her back to begin with.

She had always worked within the construction industry, starting out in the building trade within a merchant as a sales advisor and gaining knowledge of several trades. When the store manager left, she had been hoping to be promoted, as she had already been doing the Deputy Manager’s role for a year. The position, however, was allocated to a male colleague with less experience than her and she felt it was because she was female.

As she completed her qualifications, she landed her first major role of Assistant Site Supervisor for a large commercial company building a new college. She had to deal with many male colleagues far less qualified than her, questioning her almost daily to begin with. On more than one occasion she had to dismiss male colleagues as they weren’t listening to her or following her instructions.

As time went on, she claims things calmed down and she steadily gained their respect. She had pointed out it seems to be a generational thing and that younger male colleagues were far more accepting, whereas it was with the older generation that there were more problems surrounding her gender.
This makes sense to me as with life in general, I feel older generations struggle with change and diversity, whereas the younger generations seem to take it in their stride far easier. It also makes me feel positive about the future for women in construction as people are moving with the times and far more accepting than ever before.

Another issue that was brought to the forefront was the general lack of women within construction. While it wasn’t explicitly said, the undertone was that this bias may be the reason. Personally, I don’t believe this is the case. I think a common misconception is that when you picture construction you see a digger and a construction site. I feel there needs to be more education surrounding all the various jobs within construction and making everyone aware of all the varied roles in the sector. I myself wasn’t aware until I had started with Worksmart and already in the industry!

While all the women I spoke with in construction are there because it interests them and it was something they had always wanted to pursue, these women are still within the minority. I don’t by any means want to force women into a career they don’t want to be in, but I would like it if construction was something more women were drawn to.

The question I came away with from the Expo was how exactly do we, as an industry, make construction more appealing to women?

Kellie Ann Lees

Another Giant Stride for Women in Construction

Worksmart Contracts’ Briony Aulton recently picked up the John Mather Trust Award. The joinery apprentice was given the award in recognition for her career achievements thus far and will aid the young apprentice in her career progression.

The John Mather Trust is a charitable organisation set up to benefit young people in the West of Scotland and allow them to gain a solid foothold in a wide range of careers. The Trust has already helped well over 3000 individuals and Briony is one of the latest beneficiaries.

The 27 year-old from Galston was accompanied by representatives from Worksmart Contracts to collect the award, which was presented to her at The Riverside Hotel in Irvine on 6th March. The awards ceremony took place during Scottish Apprenticeship Week, a nationwide campaign that celebrates apprentices in every industry and recognises the benefits they bring to the Scottish workforce and economy.

Worksmart are at the pioneering end of the movement to involve more women in the construction industry. Having started her apprenticeship last year, Briony represents a huge step in the right direction as Worksmart’s first ever female joinery apprentice.

Lisa Neilson, Worksmart’s owner and financial director has been involved in the campaign to include more women in fit-out, she said: “We are all incredibly proud of Briony for what she has achieved. It shows that we are moving in the right direction in terms of attracting more women into the industry and helping them to flourish. People like Briony are proving that women have what it takes to succeed in what is a traditionally male-dominated sector. She is a credit to herself and Worksmart Contracts.”

Worksmart take great pride in their local area and employ locally when possible, including with apprentices. Owner Steve Neilson added: “It’s wonderful to see one of our apprentices given such a prestigious award that has helped many people in the West of Scotland over the last two decades. Briony has been excellent since joining the Worksmart family and is helping to shatter any pre-conceived notions of gender stereotypes within the industry.”