Deborah Hughes

FdA, BSc (Hons), PGCE, MSc, MPhil, PhD, MIHE, MC

I lecture in Quantity Surveying and Project Management, I’m also the Programme Director for the Quantity Surveying students and oversee the Built Environment programmes.

Why did I come into the construction industry? Initially, I was interested in biological sciences, so my first degree was in genetics and it was only later in life that I decided I didn’t want to teach pure science, I wanted to be involved with a more applied subject, so I joined the construction industry.

I had grown up involved in the construction industry, my father is a chartered QS, so from knee-high to a grasshopper I had grown up understanding the construction industry, I was three years old when I had my first site visit! I had a very good role model.

A wide range of career opportunities

It’s a fascinating career to be in, it is always interesting, never boring. To train within the construction industry you have the option to work for the client, the contractor, you can work in the public sector the private sector you can work on building projects or civils, so there is always something of interest within this career. If you enjoy science, you enjoy maths, construction is a great field to come into, to get experience there are so many companies out there that will let you give it a try.

Women in Construction

There have always been barriers for women in construction, but thank goodness these are now starting to disappear. When I studied for my master’s degree, I was one of only two women in that class. We are now seeing far more women coming through training especially at the professional level in the industry, be it Quantity Surveying, Civil Engineering, or Construction Management.

Representation of the broad spectrum of society is important in any field, we bring skills that are different from the stereotypical male, and I think it’s important that we are represented. Like most women who work in this area I have some funny stories and so not-so-funny stories, there are barriers. I’ve had to bite my tongue on site, I have had times when they have told me to remove myself from the site, you can face this, but the more women that come into the industry the less this can and will happen.

Having been involved in the construction industry for most of my life I feel it is important to encourage young women coming through the education system that they have an important role to play in the direction that this industry takes going forward.

Interested in studying Civil Engineering, Quantity Surveying, or Construction Management?

Contact Dr. Deborah Hughes with your questions.