International Women’s Day: Celebrating Women in the Building & Construction Industry

ABN Group is celebrating International Women’s Day by putting the spotlight on women who are excelling in traditionally male-dominated roles.

Rachel Harmon became Homebuyers Centre’s first female site manager in late 2020 and is sharing her story in a bid to encourage more women to go for leadership positions in the building and construction industry.

“I’ve always wanted to work in construction,” Rachel said. “As a child I was always looking around a room looking at all the details, I didn’t realise it could be a career option until much later.”

“It’s just so important for everyone to be supportive of women in this industry and I’ve had the most positive experience, I’m really grateful.”

In addition to ABN Group’s celebrations is the launch of a campaign to encourage more women to enter the ABN Training apprenticeship program.

The program employs more apprentices than any other builder in Australia and is passionate about nurturing the next generation of tradespeople. It aims to increase female applicants to the program in 2021.

Managing Director Dale Alcock said it’s important for everyone to challenge mindsets around gender roles in the workplace.

“It’s an exciting time, we are seeing women absolutely excelling in historically male-dominated work environments,” Alcock said. “From bricklaying apprenticeships, site-based management and executive general management, we are seeing dynamics shifting for the better.

“We are committed to actively challenging outdated mindsets: if there’s something you really want to do, go for it.”

Rachel joins a number of established female leaders at the ABN Group, including fellow Site Manager Dianna (Di) Evans from Webb & Brown-Neaves. Di transitioned into a Site Manager role 10 years ago.

“It’s great to see Rachel achieve her goals,” Di said. “Going for a role you really want – rather than just falling into it – and especially when there are challenges along the way, means you’ll naturally go above and beyond. This is what makes people like Rachel worth their weight in gold.”

Rachel’s advice for other women interested in a site-based building career?

“Don’t listen to negative comments, just keep pushing. You know your worth, put yourself out there. Speak up ‘til they hear you.”