Name - Sandie Williams
Role - Health, Safety and Environmental Advisor
Team - Health, Safety and Environmental
Based - Midlands
Sandie Williams, our HSE Advisor for the Midlands, will be going into her 23rd year in the construction industry this year (2023). From mastering driving a diesel van for the very first time, to helping save lives in her current role, Sandie gives her experiences and opinions on how the construction industry has changed over the years and the opportunities that go under the radar.
“Take the lid of it and you can be whatever you want to be”. This was Sandie’s comment which came with no hesitation when asked about what she thought of the construction industry after over 20 years in the sector. With a variety of experience across numerous organisations and roles in the industry, Sandie is perfect example of her mindset towards ‘taking the lid of’ our industry and exploring new roles and career pathways. Sandie started her career as a concrete technician working in a laboratory, an opportunity which she took after deciding the university route wasn’t for her. Her interest in seeing what the industry had to offer saw her move into more of an operational role, where she took up a quarry manager position at another organisation.
Sandie reflected on the time and admitted the early days of her career didn’t come without challenges: “Quarrying and construction jobs just weren’t advertised and promoted to women. I was regularly the only woman on site which wasn’t easy at times. I would start shovelling and some of the men would ask me what I was doing – I just never wanted it to be a thing.” It was never ‘a thing’ for Sandie who went on to complete a variety of roles, fondly reminiscing about her time as a Level Five trained explosives supervisor – a role which she would regularly explain with passion to her friends outside of work.
Looking back at the variety of roles and experiences throughout her career, Sandie talked proudly about her impact as a woman building a successful career in construction:
“We were coming in and we were driving dumper shovels – it was brilliant! We’ve got so many fantastic women in our industry, it’s fantastic to see more women coming through and succeeding in their own careers. Most of my friends who are women think what I do is really interesting – I’m proud to normalise it as a profession for everyone.”
After succeeding as a quarry manager for several years, Sandie’s attitude towards exploring what the industry has to offer was contacted by a colleague at Tarmac with the offer to apply for her current role in our Health, Safety and Environment team. With a wide variety of formal training and qualifications under her belt, twinned with a broad range of practical experience, Sandie takes great pleasure in preaching her message to young women considering a career in construction, or to those coming through as graduates or apprentices: “People just have no idea what exists. You have the obvious operational roles but there’s also the data analysts, marketing team finance professionals – I love operations but there’s so much more here on offer we need to shout about.”