IWD 2016 Guest blogger: Aoife Drury

As part of our celebration of International Women’s Day, our Military Programme Manager Aoife Drury is sharing her experience with us of what is like to be a woman in two male dominated sectors: construction and the military. 

Following completing my BSc in Psychiatric Nursing in Ireland I moved over to commence my Masters in War and Psychiatry in Kings College London before starting my role here at Construction Youth Trust. I am the manager of The Trust’s Military Programme which initially started as a pilot called BuildForce almost two years ago. I started as a coordinator in the project which included developing material, running events and placement opportunities.

I had no prior knowledge of the construction industry and when I started the job I felt overwhelmed with the amount of information I had to learn. This was particularly evident when trying to secure placements and job opportunities for Service leavers. I found myself struggling to match skills to the appropriate positions...but the industry provides great opportunities for learning if you look for them.

It has been interesting working in two male dominated industries. There were occasions, particularly at events and meetings where I felt overwhelmed. But with the confidence in my professional capabilities and the knowledge that I possessed, it was never a case that I should be unnerved or doubted myself.

As women in male dominated industries it’s important that we understand our worth and have faith in our competences. While the challenges as a woman in both construction and the Military are real they are not insurmountable. Overcoming such obstacles means ensuring that you have a complete passion for your work, a drive for what you believe in, and the integrity to keep moving forward when things get rough.