Industry Insider: Cathy Sanders, Acciona Senior HR & Training Advisor
20 June, 2022 3 min read
Cathy is relatively new to the construction industry, originally thinking she wanted to become a high school teacher but quickly realizing her passion was in adult education. A while later after originally starting her own RTO, an opportunity came for a training and HR role within the construction industry, and she is now the Senior HR & Training Advisor at Acciona. Cathy’s enthusiasm for the construction industry is contagious, and she’s got great recommendations for others thinking about taking the leap and getting involved…
How long have you been working in the construction industry?
I’m a bit of a newbie to the hi-vis. I initially went to university to become a high school teacher but instead, I found a passion for adult education. I enjoyed a career in the world of Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) and not for profits. I even started and ran my own RTO for a period!
My husband worked in civil construction on major infrastructure projects and when a position came on up on a project looking for someone in Training and HR, I took a chance. That was 5 years ago and I’m so glad I did and I’m excited about where construction is taking me and my career.
Do you have any advice to other females wanting to get into the construction industry?
Construction is so much more than people think. The trades are growing in female numbers, and so they should… We need more! People often forget that our industry is more than just construction workers, we have engineers, administrators, finance, legal and commercial, communications and engagement, designers, IT, environmental and sustainability… There are so many opportunities that require such a vast array of skillsets and I truly believe more women should be considering construction as a career pathway.
I have my top 3 recommendations:
Find out what kind of roles interest you:
Read the job ads and position descriptions and see what lights your fire. Go to career days and speak to people and ask questions! What kind of requirements are there for that role? Do you need a licence or a qualification? What kind of experience is expected? What would an average day include?
Reach out to people in the industry and get some firsthand information about the role and potential pathways:
Associations like NAWIC are fantastic for this. NAWIC host Speed Careering sessions so you can meet women already in the industry and really get a sense of what’s required and what kind of opportunities could be on the other side.
CSQ has new entrant programs that can give you a taste of what a career in the industry might look and feel like. Getting some experience is invaluable, both for igniting your career, but also for you to truly know what the best pathway is for you.
Where there may be prerequisite training/education requirements, start to identify your options:
Check out the CSQ website for potential training options. Most universities and RTOs have specialist advisors who can walk you through your options and their expectations, don’t be afraid to ask.
With all of this, you can start to plan and create some connections that can support you on your path to one of the most rewarding careers you can find. If you’re midway through your career like I was, consider transferring your skills and experience to construction.
Do you have any comments about CSQ?
CSQ is the first place I go to when I am looking for training for the team. It has a plethora of development opportunities for any type of construction employee at almost any level whether it be compliance, upskilling/cross skilling, or reaching for that promotion, CSQ facilitates relationships between industry and training providers.
Not only do CSQ fund training, but also advocate for training across all pillars of construction when it comes to training needs. CSQ are armed with in-depth data about the industry to understand the pressures and drivers of the industry.
CSQ also work to bring major contractors together to make the end-to-end training process most effective across the board.