Rising star Sarah shortlisted for national construction award

A PROMISING young professional at contractor, Willmott Dixon, is celebrating after being shortlisted for a national accolade at the prestigious Women in Construction Awards.

Commercial management trainee, Sarah Bridge, 23, has been recognised for her exceptional talent, dedication and commitment to encouraging young women into the construction sector, through a nomination in the ‘Rising Star – Under 25’ category.

After graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MSc in Building Surveying, Sarah joined Willmott Dixon on an eight-week internship in July 2015, promptly being offered a place on the two-year management trainee graduate scheme, which she is due to complete in September.

Sarah is one of 13 nominations from across the company nationwide in a range of award categories, and is testament to Willmott Dixon’s work in encouraging more women to join the construction industry. A variety of opportunities are promoted within the company, both on site and office based, for talented professionals to develop their skills and career.

Speaking of the nomination, Sarah said: “I’m so pleased to have been nominated for this award, I didn’t expect to be at all. I’m really looking forward to sharing in the successes of the other inspiring women from across the country at the awards ceremony next month.

“I love my role at Willmott Dixon and the team have been incredibly supportive throughout my graduate scheme and without them, I wouldn’t have developed my skills so quickly or have half of the experiences I have, without their guidance. I really enjoy sharing my experiences with young people who visit the Biosciences site and with those I meet through placement programmes.I hope to go some way towards inspiring them to join the construction sector and forge their own careers as skilled professionals.”

Sarah has been an integral part of Willmott Dixon’s commercial team working on the Biosciences project, a £26 million project based in the heart of Nottingham city centre, adjacent to the BioCity site. She manages all stages of each project element, from assessing valuation and gathering quotes from the supply chain, to evaluation and final accounting.

By the end of the year, Sarah will be a fully qualified assistant project surveyor, as well as having completed several external industry-recognised training courses, including JCT, NEC and contract law.

Nick Preedy, senior building manager at Willmott Dixon, said: “Sarah’s nomination for the Women in Construction awards is fully deserved. After only 18 months in the industry, we are confident Sarah can deliver on several elements vital to the successful completion of a project. She has already shown herself as having the talent needed to become an incredibly proficient commercial quantity surveyor, thanks to her quick professional and personal development.

“Having almost immediately stepped into the role of an assistant quantity surveyor working under two very experienced and qualified professionals, Sarah has taken on responsibilities far beyond what is expected of her and performed to a high standard consistently.”

As well as proving herself as a highly competent professional, Sarah is highly involved in the company’s outreach work, working with local schools, colleges and universities actively working to plug the skills gap widely concerning the sector at present. She is also heavily involved in representing Willmott Dixon though a number of organisations, including a youth employment initiative organised by The Prince’s Trust.

Nick added: “Sarah is not only a role model for young people looking to develop a career within the construction industry, but also those already working within Willmott Dixon, consistently demonstrating an excellent level of professionalism, personal drive and dedication to self-improvement. No matter the task, Sarah will accept it with good grace and complete it with a strong work ethic.”

Rick Lee, chief human resources officer for Willmott Dixon, who also sits on the Women’s Business Council said, “We are always looking for new ways to attract talent into our business. Historically, construction has been very male dominated and we want to open people’s eyes to the wide spectrum of roles available in the industry, it is a great place to forge a long and rewarding career for both men and women. Awards like these are fantastic for raising the profile of our inspirational female role models and will hopefully lead to more young women considering a career in construction.”

The Women in Construction Awards ceremony will be held on Wednesday 1 March at the Hilton Manchester Deansgate.