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As a Site Manager, Grace McDonnell is a real success story at Vistry Partnerships, working her way up through the business to manage a site at the age of just 23.

For Grace, a career in construction was not her original plan, but instead stemmed from a summer job when she was 17. Starting out in an admin role, she began working with the sub-contracting buying team and decided to pursue a full-time career instead of going back to college.

Photo of Grace McDonnellAt 20, Grace joined the Vistry Partnerships Academy on a management trainee scheme – relocating 250 miles away to take up her place. The Academy is designed to provide apprentices, trainees, and postgraduates with the education and experience they need in all areas of the business including surveying, design and admin and Grace soon realised her talents lay in site management.

Now aged 26 and a fully qualified Site Manager, Grace is already overseeing her third major Plymouth construction project – the latest is part of a key regeneration scheme to bring new life to the city’s waterfront. Her ability to break boundaries has made headlines and she is leading the women in construction campaign from the front.

“I want more women to join the industry, there are no barriers. People think you will be ostracised, on the building site, because you are a woman, but that is not the case.

“I’m a big advocate of females in the industry and encourage women to get into the trade.”

Grace does indeed lead by example, committed to promoting the industry to the workforce of tomorrow, Grace regularly gives career talks at local schools championing the industry and offering advice on how to get into construction as well as hosting site visits to give people the chance to ‘see behind the scenes’.

To find out more about Apprenticeships in Construction and the Built Environment: