On International Women’s Day Read The Story of An Inspirational Woman Working Across our Live Construction Sites
This International Women’s Day is at the heart of Women In Construction Week, and we want to introduce you to a great colleague who consistently has a significant impact both within our Group and across the live construction sites of our clients.
Claire Morgan is our Group Director of Safety, Health, Environment and Quality (SHEQ) and leads our safety culture, ensuring that our colleagues and contractors get home safely at the end of each day.
Claire joined Shield Group in March 2020 as Head of SHEQ, bringing over 13 years of experience in a lead SHEQ role. Claire started her SHEQ career as a Health & Safety Coordinator in 2005, completing her NEBOSH General Certificate and NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health & Safety in 2011. Claire has a wealth of knowledge within the construction industry and has previously provided a key role on projects across the UK.
As well as leading our in-house SHEQ Team, Claire is passionate about SHEQ development and keeping our workforce and contractors safe.
Ahead of this week of celebration, we sat down with Claire to find out more about her career and what drives her desire for excellence in SHEQ and construction.
What made you choose a career in SHEQ?
“I’d been working in Retail Facilities Management and was asked to undertake the IOSH Managing Safely course and within 2 days of the training commencing, my passion for Health, Safety, Environmental and Welfare was firmly set. I found the course really brought out the best side of me and gave me a focus for my future. From the moment I was issued with my IOSH Certificate I was determined I wanted a career in Health & Safety and that’s when my journey began!”
“I still really enjoy the interaction with all levels of staff within our workplace, interacting at site level is what I enjoy the most. I feel real pride when I have helped someone solve a problem or support development in someone’s career, however, nothing brings me greater pleasure than knowing the workforce remains safe and I have had a part to play in that.”
What challenges did you face when attaining your NEBOSH qualification?
“At the time, I was a mum trying to balance my full-time job with looking after two young children and running a home. When I look back, I realise how hard it was. I hadn’t seen my dining table for two years as it had become my study desk and was covered in textbooks, but I just had to keep going as I’d had a fire lit inside me and a genuine passion for what I wanted to do for the rest of my career.”
What’s it like to be a female director within the construction industry?
“Construction sites have changed a lot, but they are still male-dominated environments. When I first started to visit them, I could see the looks on people’s faces. They were like, “What’s she doing here, telling me how to be safe?” You really had to own each situation, demonstrating your expertise and going the extra yard to prove that you belonged. It was hugely draining, and that was before you even got to do your job! I’m glad to say that things have improved significantly since then, but there are reminders that your presence is still not the norm. There can be some ‘choice’ language used on sites, and it always surprises me, when someone apologises for swearing around a woman. I know that when I go to site, I will be in the minority, but the big change now is that I am acknowledged as the subject matter expert and I receive the respect that anyone who holds my role should.”
What advice would you give to women seeking a role in construction?
“It’s not just for the construction industry, but a piece of general career advice, and that is to find something that you are genuinely passionate about and never give up. I love my role, and I find it hugely motivating, especially as Shield 100% support the need to perform safely. I know the impact that my SHEQ team and I have is significant, as it allows people to go home safely at the end of each day. Also, I would say that you have to take an opportunity. There is never a perfect time to do something, you just have to go for it and you will find a way. I always look back to when I was studying for my NEBOSH qualifications, and I don’t know how I got through it all, but I did, and it has made me who I am today.”
Shield Services Group is an equal opportunities employer with numerous women working across our divisions with all levels of responsibility. We want to thank each and every female colleague who contribute so significantly.
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