Working in Construction: Happy’s story
Construction as a profession is made up of many, many disciplines and filled with people from different backgrounds, each with their own story about how they came to work in the industry.
Lendlease and Morrisroe (a construction partner) work alongside Newham Council on the Workplace initiative, helping people in the local area to explore a range of roles and opportunities in the industry. We recently spoke to Saran, known to her friends and colleagues as Happy, about her experience with Workplace and how she found herself working in construction.
Happy started at IQL with Morrisroe on 15th July, 2019. The role started as a 4-week placement but she has since been kept on due to her work ethic and excellent work on the project.
Her journey with Newham Workplace started when she attended one of their Women in Construction events. Through them, she then completed a multi-skills course and traffic marshall training funded by the Lloyds Construction Skills Partnership, and she continues to attend further training and events at IQL.
“I moved from the Ivory Coast to Newham in 2018 and tried my hand at many jobs, including housekeeping and care. I didn’t particularly enjoy them – they weren’t providing an appropriate platform for my skills, the pay was an issue and the working hours didn’t fit well with my lifestyle.
“I decided to register with Newham Workplace, but when my advisor Natasha discussed Construction roles with me, I told her I didn’t think I had the correct skillset. She really encouraged me to give it a go, explored the options and entry routes on my behalf and continued to encourage me throughout the whole process.
“I can honestly say I haven’t looked back.
“The role is varied, every day is a new challenge and I have to explore a broad range of skills to carry out my work. But now, I love working. For the first time in a long time I’m not thinking about pay, I’m thinking about my career. And I’m excited for the future. Learning English, being black and being female is not a barrier – I’m here to do a job, I do it well and my colleagues and managers respect me for it.”
Andy Webster, Project Manager at IQL for Morrisroe, said of Happy:
“Happy has been such an excellent operative for our business. She’s a pleasure to work with and her attitude to work and safety is excellent. She has great potential to further her career in this industry.”
Anyone interested in local jobs in construction, or in exploring other employment opportunities, can contact workplace.EngagementTeam@newham.gov.uk.