How did you get into the Industry?
Like most people I suspect – it found me. I undertook a site managers position in London and was approached by the site training officer to train some installers in health and safety as no one else wanted the job. I got on so well with the guys and took an interest in their work and saw it as a diverse part of the sector which I wanted to be a part of. I’ve never looked back!
What was your first job after leaving school/college?
I remember my careers officer giving me the options of becoming a hairdresser, a nurse or a secretary and neither appealed to me. I wanted to do something creative and at 16 years old I took a YTS in a small architectural practice and was then hooked with the construction industry.
Can you give a brief resume of jobs up to your current position?
I’ve always been in the construction sector. After being diagnosed with Dyscalculia I could not complete my architectural training so after leaving the architectural practice I worked in a Higher Education School of Architecture where I learnt a lot of theory surrounding construction. I self-funded my further education whilst undertaking various site management and training consultancy and got heavily involved with fenestration. I did manage to get hand’s on during this time and worked with a number of maintenance engineers and installers and learnt a lot from other trades. Present day and I am joint founder and Director of a private training provider which specialises in the fenestration industry and due to complete my MSc in Business & Management in August 2018.
Do you believe your speciality (Sales, Management, Marketing etc.) is transferable to any industry?
I’ve always said you need a special personality and mindset to work in construction industry, whether I would have the same drive and enthusiasm for another industry has yet to be tested.
Have you a career path mapped out or is it more about optimism?
I left school with no formal qualifications and if I hadn’t planned to gain an education which suited my interests I doubt I would be in the position I am today. In order to diversify in business you learn to do a lot of self-reflection. One of the hardest things is admitting that sometimes your strengths and weaknesses do not always match that of the business needs and therefore you need to be flexible, adjust and sometimes move on and create something yourself.
Looking ahead, where would you like to be in a) 5 years’ time b) 10 years’ time?
I’m lucky that I’ve worked in an industry that hasn’t bored me in 30 years so would like to think I’ll still be involved with it in the future. I would love to be able to do more research practice as it has always been a dream to write a book surrounding industry.
Away from work, what is your focus?
I like to travel and aim to take a city break once a year and the rest of the time is divided between our home refurbishment project, trips with our Dachshund ‘Hamish’ our touring caravan and time with family.
What activities help you switch off?
I enjoy walking our little dog and go swimming/gym three times a week. I also enjoy a good pub quiz!
All work and no play makes Jill a dull girl! True or False and why?
Definitely true! I’m a great believer that too much focus on work actually dampens the mind and draws you away from what you actually set out to achieve.
Do you achieve the work/life balance you would like to?
I’m lucky that I have Lee my business partner who is also very dedicated to the business and an excellent team. We built the business on everyone getting a good work/life balance and feel we’re more productive for it.
With money and leisure time no object, what would you really like to do for yourself or your family?
I’d firstly take all the family on a really exotic holiday and make sure they had enough money so they could spend time watching their children grow without the financial worries. I feel I missed out a lot when my daughter was young as I was always juggling full-time work and studying. I’d then spend my days in the sun, surrounded with Dachshund dogs and write my book.
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