Planning student wins Women in Property award

by | Jun 21, 2021 | Architecture, Planning and Environmental Management, Undergraduate | 0 comments

Josie-Mae, a student on Master of Planning with Real Estate, discusses what winning the Women in Property North West Regional Student Award means to her, from the importance of representing women the property industry, to how it helped her forge connections that will support her career aspirations.

My award experience

The Women in Property Award is held annually for female students studying built environment courses at all universities in the UK. Regional winners are entered into the national final in September. The aim is to create better opportunities for females entering a currently male-dominated industry.Screen showing online meeting

All seven finalists for the North West Award had an interview day in February, delivering a presentation to a panel of judges, followed by questions about the industry. Following this, we had a number of webinars alongside the other finalists. It was at this point that I started to doubt my chances of winning as they were truly amazing candidates.

The awards event itself was held in June, with presentations from last year’s winner as well as an experienced lecturer from the sector. I was sat next to my mum during the awards. When they announced I had won, we both looked at each other in shock and I burst out crying. I really couldn’t believe it. I now completely understand the feeling of the phrase ‘lost for words’! I’m so grateful to have been nominated by the staff in our department, and to have been recognised by them despite the pandemic restricting our face-to-face contact. I feel so lucky to be able to represent women in the sector, and to prove how much we have to offer.

Building connections for my future

I would love to contribute towards shaping the built environment around us and in the future I have aspirations to become a Project Manager on influential construction projects. I’m sure everybody has walked past skyscrapers or unique architecture in admiration, and I would love to know I have been a part of creating one of those! This industry is so rewarding when you see the way it has shaped people’s lives for the better.Tall building reflected in glass building

Our course leaders have often referred to Manchester as being our ‘living laboratory’, with the built environment growing exponentially in the city. My course highlights the importance of coursework projects on sites in the real world. We have been able to visit incredible sites around Manchester, as well as being given talks by professionals from influential companies in the industry including Bruntwood.

The awards process allowed me to make further connections in the industry and gain work experience placements, as well as increasing my confidence in presenting work to new people. Furthermore, as a female in this industry it can be difficult to prove yourself and get the same opportunities as your male peers. Many employers are now in favour of gender diversity, however there are still stereotypes within some companies and from individuals which may require challenging.One man and three women in a meeting room

Having an award to demonstrate my capabilities will hopefully allow me to find work as a Project Manager on large projects, particularly as the role requires a high level of leadership in an increasingly competitive sector. I guess it’s a great platform which arguably affords me greater opportunities in terms of work experience and, eventually, employment. I certainly feel very fortunate to have won, especially given the calibre of the other finalists.