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CITB deputy chairman Judy Lowe on why she loves construction

Judy Lowe explains why it’s a thrill to say “I was part of that” and tells us that the next generation must be attracted to construction early

Q: How did you get into the industry?

A: By sheer good fortune. At the time, I was managing director of a successful corporate strategy practice, with board clients such as BT, BP, the BBC, Glaxo, Arup and Standard Chartered.  

But after seven years I wanted a new challenge. So I tried for, and got, a non-executive director role on the board of consulting engineers Mott MacDonald.

Being typecast, Mott MacDonald was soon followed by Barhale, Wrekin and Bovis Lend Lease Europe.

Q: What is the best thing about construction?

A: It’s just so exciting to begin with a concept or a line drawing and end up with one of this country’s iconic buildings. Then being able to say ‘I was part of that’.

I tell young apprentices that when tourists come to see Big Ben, the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey or Parliament, they are just admiring their predecessors’ major design-and-build projects.

Q: If you could change one thing what would it be?

A: The one thing I would change is the mindset of those who think the construction industry is not a career for women.

Q: How should we encourage young people to join the industry?

A: I am convinced that you have to get to young people early. 

Recruiting at the moment for the West Midlands Construction university technical colleges, which CITB co-sponsors, I love the enthusiasm of the 12-13-year-olds who come to our Saturday open days around the region. 

They know what they want in life.  At that age, you back what sounds fun, not what a careers teacher tells you to back.

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