As safe as houses: my career in construction

Female health and safety worker on construction development

Lovell health and safety advisor Holly Baker says her career in construction has given her the chance to contribute to the legacy of local communities - Credit: Lovell / Holly Baker 

Lovell health and safety advisor Holly Baker discusses how her passion for people was the perfect foundation for a fulfilling career in the construction sector.  

You might not expect that a degree in psychology could be a prerequisite for a rewarding career in construction, but that is precisely how health and safety advisor Holly Baker set out on her professional trajectory.   

“I want to help people,” Holly admits. “Construction gives me a chance to make a real difference to people’s lives.”  

After completing her undergraduate degree in Psychosocial Studies at Anglia Ruskin in 2010, Holly took on a temporary role with the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).  

“The work was really exciting: developing safety training courses for contractors and site managers,” she says. “I was interested in the sociological aspect, and because the product was endorsed by Build UK, I worked with industry experts to upskill thousands of people while setting the standards for sites across the country.” 

Holly’s role became permanent, but she soon realised that she also wanted to work on-site, and had the opportunity to work for a principal contractor in 2016, before joining Lovell in 2018. “I really enjoy the chemistry on-site, being part of the team and watching a project evolve from start to finish.  

“Health and safety is about education – not policing,” Holly explains. “We help workers problem-solve while ensuring everyone is happy. My main aim is to make sure everyone goes home safely to their families.” 

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Holly's career allows her to actively contribute to the legacy of local communities. 

“Sites I have worked on are now people’s homes where families are built and there are children playing in parks that didn’t exist before. Knowing that I have had even a minor role in that is really special.” 

Holly argues that it is time to abandon outdated assumptions about the industry.  

“There is a perception that construction is only for men, but there are so many different roles available,” Holly says. “Women have different talents, different opinions and different approaches, so anyone thinking about a career in construction should go for it.” 

Holly concludes that the sector is a fertile environment to set bold ambitions and make positive change happen. 

“I would like to work towards removing stigma of mental health in the construction industry,” she says. “As a culture, it is behind the curve. That is just one example of how we can make a difference.”  

Join the workshop  

Are you a woman interested in a career in construction and based in Norwich, Great Yarmouth, Acle and Wymondham? Join our fortnightly workshops on February 15, March 1, March 15 and March 29 and find out more about a four-week training programme commencing June 7 to start building your career.   

For more information, please contact Steph Sheppard at Women into Construction at steph.sheppard@women-into-construction.org  

This page is sponsored by Lovell Partnerships and Morgan Sindall Construction, in association with Women into Construction, Sizewell C, the Department of Work & Pensions, East Coast College, Clarion Futures and Labour Desk. 

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