Photo of Phoenix Community Housing employees on the construction site at Nuthatch House
Photo of the author and Saltash employee Adele Tribe
Adele Tribe
Thursday 13th June 2019 - 08:57

Building a future at Nuthatch House

At Nuthatch House on Whitefoot Lane, our contractor Saltash is helping us build 22 new homes. Adele Tribe, a welfare labourer on the site and former tenant of Phoenix Community Housing, shares her experience of working as a woman in construction.

My career in construction began when I fell in love with a narrowboat.

My friend’s narrowboat. I was visiting her and decided that I wanted a job that paid well enough to support that kind of life, so I began considering a career in construction.

While it’s traditionally a male-dominated industry, as I’ve grown as a human being I’ve learned what my skillset is. I’m a very practical person, learning by doing and seeing.

When I had my son, I put the narrowboat dream on hold while caring for him. But, when I saw this opportunity at Nuthatch House with Saltash, I was excited to get back into work.

It’s been so interesting, watching things grow from the ground up. I’ve learned so much more by being on site than I ever would have in a classroom.

And Saltash has given me the opportunity to develop. My manager has been incredibly supportive of me as a single mother, allowing me to work hours that suit my childcare and being flexible when needed so I can look after my son.

Beyond that, he and Saltash are supporting me to develop my career. My manager recognised my potential and I’m now training to be a Finishing Foreman, with the hope of studying for an NVQ in management.

I couldn’t do this job if I didn’t live in social housing – between private rent and childcare costs, I just couldn’t afford to work. It’s so good to see more homes being built in the area by Phoenix.

When I started, I was like a little mouse. Having this opportunity has been incredible for building my confidence, knowing I’m achieving that. Beyond that, I’m proud I can support my son better financially.

For any woman considering a career in construction, I’d say go for it: just go for it! If you’ve got the skillset, you can do it and you’ll be another part of the team, not different in any way.

I’m not looking to live in a narrowboat anymore, with my son with me now, but I’m looking forward to building a career, financial stability – and to be happy in my future.

The first residents of Nuthatch House are expected to move in during the summer. If you could benefit from support into training or work, visit our Job Club, every Tuesday from 10am-1pm.