Ruth Williams – Senior Commercial Manager, Leeds

Ruth Williams has worked as a Senior Commercial Manager for the past four years and has recently taken on the role of Process Lead within the Project One team to support with the Timemaster system replacement.

As well as managing the commercial team, Ruth provides support to the business on projects, finance, IMS, training and administration duties. She also works with our Senior Management Team to support on various operational business activities. Today, Ruth shares her experience as a woman working in the construction industry this International Women’s Day.

My career started in 1991 as an Information Officer at Wigan Council. This role initially involved working on admin tasks but developed over the years into a more senior role, and when we joined NPS in 2004, I had the opportunity to manage a small project support team.

In the early stages of my career, the colleagues I worked with in admin and finance were predominantly women. What was evident though was that there were very few women working within the professional disciplines, so I expect it would have been more difficult for them, working in what was then a male-dominated profession.

The past seven years have been the most rewarding years of my career to date, which shows that age is not a barrier to progression and development. Whilst my children were growing up, I worked part time (3 days a week for 13 years) and during this time, I didn’t take up potential opportunities to further my career. This was a personal choice for me as I valued my work/life balance and one I wouldn’t change looking back. When I returned to full time work, I was eager to progress my career and further my qualifications.

The project I am working on now (Project One) will no doubt be the most exciting of my career. But if I were to choose something from the past, it would have to be the part I played in creating the Infinity brand whilst working for NPS North West. I was involved in its infancy, helping to set up a new business, systems and processes within NPS to provide compliance services to Wigan schools. It’s great to see how the Infinity brand has grown over the years and its continued success across the whole Norse group.

My greatest achievement would have to be when I secured a place on the NPS Future Leaders Academy – a two-year management training course, which developed aspiring managers within NPS. I came out of this programme a much more confident version of myself and had more belief in my capability as a leader.

We see nowadays more and more women pursuing a career in the construction industry. Whether it’s a technical profession or a support role, I would encourage anyone to go for it – there are so many opportunities within this industry for women.

Ruth's Words of Affirmation:

"Always push yourself - you are capable of more than you think. Never let being a woman or, in my case, age, hold you back from anything whether it be a new role or enhancing your qualifications."

Read more stories from IWD here