Careers

One to watch: Lydia McGuinness, Wates Construction

The section manager, Yorkshire and North East, at Wates talks about how she achieved a CIOB Rising Star accolade and the diversity of challenges working on construction projects.

Why did you choose a career in construction? What else might you have done?

I chose construction because I get to be part of a team that creates an environment for the local community to have homes, learn, work and make memories.

My first ever project was constructing a helipad for the hospital that treated my grandma, and my last project was refurbishing a building in which my mum told her family she was pregnant with me.

If I didn’t get my apprenticeship, I would have gone to university to study business.

You were a CIOB Rising Star last year. Tell us why. 

I was extremely grateful to have won the CIOB Rising Star award. I believe it’s important to drive change in the industry, by challenging the existing issues we have and making it a more attractive industry to work in. I have always gone above and beyond to help remove stereotypes and improve the image of the industry, and winning this award was a reflection of that.

You’re obviously driven – what are your career ambitions?

To one day become a project director of a high-profile construction project, while maintaining a good work/life balance.  

What do you love about the industry? What one thing would you change if you could?

I love the collaboration and excitement of our industry. When working on a project, you get to work with so many different professions and trades. I find myself always saying “You learn something new every day” because I genuinely do. No two days are the same; it’s an industry I will never get bored with.

I think we could improve on how we sell ourselves as an industry. We need more young people (especially women) to choose our industry, so let’s shout louder about why they should.