Gillian George: Women in Construction and Trade

Gillian George

Written by Grant

We’re featuring women in construction and trade

This week we spoke to electrician and plumber Gillian George, Head Of Maintenance Operations for Sanctuary Housing and woman on a mission to help as many females into the construction industry as possible!


Hi Gillian, thank you for speaking to us today! Can you tell our readers a little bit about what you do?

I am Head Of Maintenance Operations for Sanctuary Housing. I am responsible for our responsive and void maintenance teams. They carry out repairs for our housing stock, in which we have over 100,000 properties.

What was your entry into your field like?

I started as a works planner in a local council, it was an interesting job where I started to learn about the construction industry. After many years in that role, I decided that I wanted to become a supervisor for the trade operatives so I asked advice from a male senior manager. He was very dismissive and told me it could not be done, it was too late for me and that I should concentrate on being an administrator manager one day. Very angry with fire in my belly I worked hard at work, job shadowing and getting experience. While I had my full time job I did open university courses in construction and surveying. I qualified in them so decided to get a trade behind me. In evening college I qualified as a plumber then went on to qualify as an electrician.


Your motivation is inspiring! How did you come by your current job role?

I worked my way up in my old role from works planner to supervisor. I then joined Sanctuary where I started as a trade supervisor then worked my way up to Head Of Operations

What is your proudest achievement to date?

Qualifying as an electrician as it was very hard!

And your hard work paid off! What keeps you motivated on the more difficult days?

Being in a position to help others progress, especially females

Is there a part of your job you wish you got to do more of?

Helping others


Thinking ahead to the future, what does it hold for you that you’re excited about?

I am on a mission to help as many females into the construction industry. I have a network of contacts to all work together to achieve this.

If you had your pick of being able to replace absolutely anybody in the world and got to do their job instead, who would that individual be and what would the job be?

Good Question!!! I am actually going to win millions on the lottery, once I have received that I am going to buy a lovely house I have seen on the Isle Of Wight.  I will then give up paid works and spend my time working for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and maybe do some free electrical work for the local community.


Are there any women who work within your own personal network that inspire you?

Unfortunately there are not many roles models in this industry. Am I allowed to say …….. an inspiring lady many years ago was Charlene Ramsey in Neighbours, (Kyle played her), she played a mechanic, back in the day that was inspirational !!

Do you have any advice for women who might be deciding whether they want to start a career in the industry?

Just do it !! There has never been a better time to join the industry. We are equal in this life!!!

Have you ever engaged with any organisations that are pushing for gender equality in construction/trade?

Yes, women into construction, other housing associations/councils and the open university

And finally… three tracks, a book and a luxury: what would you take to a desert island?

Tracks: Jump – House of Pain, Shoop – Salt N Pepa, What about Us – Pink Book
Book: Maybe a dictionary if I was stuck on an island, might get bored of reading the same book, could maybe learn some words ☺
Luxury Item: my pillow

A pillow is a really good choice! Thanks for speaking to us Gillian

This was Gillian George of Sanctuary Housing interviewed for our #WiCW series – a compilation of articles from inspirational women in the Construction and Trades industries. Want to get involved? Have someone to recommend? Get in contact with us on enquiries@shakeandspeare.com To contact Gillian about work experience opportunities, please email: gillian.george@sanctuary-housing.co.uk

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