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Bouyges UK site manager Chelbie Jones looks back on her career this International Women’s Day

Chelbie Jones

In celebration of International Women’s Day 2023, Bouyges UK site manager Chelbie Jones reflects on her experience as a carpentry trainee all the way to her current position

Chelbie Jones, 25, left school 10 years ago and planned to enrol on a hairdressing course-when she realised it wasn’t really the career she wanted.

So, she took a leap of faith, enrolled on a carpentry course, learned the tricks of the construction trade and is now site manager at Bouygues UK’s Kingsway site in Swansea.

Developed by Swansea Council, the 71/72 Kingsway scheme forms a key part of an on-going regeneration programme that’s transforming the city.

The project includes some innovative features to ensure it is carbon zero in operation and, once complete, the scheme will be worth £32.6m a year to Swansea’s economy.

Chelbie advises any woman who is considering a career in construction to go for it

Chelbie, from Pembroke, said: “Going from hairdressing to carpentry is a big difference, but one that I’m so glad I went for. My uncle was a carpenter at the time I made that major decision and I didn’t really have a full understanding as to what carpentry actually was – but I proceeded with it anyway and I loved it.”

Three years later Chelbie qualified as a carpenter and then enrolled on a NVQ CIOB Level 4 Diploma in Construction Site Management before joining Bouygues UK as a trainee site manager at Pembroke Learning Campus as a work placement.

This role gave her the perfect opportunity to learn how to plan and coordinate a project from start to finish.

Site management involves organising work schedules, costings and budget. supervising operations on-site, hiring and managing staff. monitoring subcontractors, checking materials, inspecting work and overseeing quality control.

Bringing the next generation into site management

Chelbie was also a trainee site manager at her former school, Pembroke High School, which was renamed Ysgol Harri Tudur and built by Bouygues UK. She ran the school ambassadors’ scheme – which allows pupils to have first-hand experience of the build to share with their peers.

Chelbie Jones continues: “I did some further training and now, five years later, I have been promoted to a fully-fledged Site Manager on the Kingsway site. I love it and can’t imagine doing anything else. The fact I am a woman has made no difference to my career prospects at Bouygues UK at all. I’ve had many opportunities to train and learn new skills with the support of Bouygues UK.

“I would advise anyone thinking of getting into construction to go for it. There are endless opportunities and my best advice would be ‘If you don’t know, just ask.’ No question is stupid, and, believe me, I’ve asked a lot of questions!”

Making the most of every opportunity offered

John Boughton, managing director for Wales at Bouygues UK said: “Chelbie is a wonderful example of someone who has grasped every opportunity offered to her at Bouygues UK and is enjoying a successful career in a dynamic, diverse and evolving industry. Whether it’s working behind the scenes in the marketing department, operating a crane on site, coordinating BIM or quantity surveying, the construction industry has never been a more varied and exciting career choice for women.

“What was once considered a male-dominated world is now home to ambitious, skilled women who are breaking down the barriers to smash gender stereotypes and bring a fresh perspective to the construction industry.”

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