Steph's story - Celebrating women at Berkshire Healthcare
International Women’s Day (8 March) is a valuable opportunity to champion gender equality in the workplace and celebrate the fantastic achievements of the women (and trans women) we work with. This year’s theme is ‘Embrace Equity’ which calls for all of us to challenge gender stereotypes, call out discrimination, draw attention to bias, and seek out inclusion.
We spoke to five inspirational women from a range of different roles across our Trust, to find out about their career journeys and achievements. Steph Gould is Deputy Director of our Estates & Facilities Management.
You can read Steph's story below, and others on our website.
Read about the other stories for International Women's Day 2023
Can you tell us about your career to date and what made you decide to work in estates and facilities management (EFM)?
I joined the NHS 25 years ago as a temporary member of staff in the Estates Department of the then Learning Disability Trust, at Church Hill House. The old institutional hospital was in the process of being closed, and one of my first roles was to find suitable properties that could be converted into homes for the people who lived on site. I’ve worked with Berkshire Shared Services/Berkshire Healthcare ever since, as facilities manager for Wokingham and Bracknell, and a project manager delivering office moves and clinical refurbishments with EDTS (our in-house design team) across our estate in Berkshire.
Latterly I became Deputy Director of Estates and Facilities, which included managing the two PFI Contracts (West Berks Community Hospital and Prospect Park), before managing the estates operations, including the capital and project delivery function for EFM. I sort of ‘fell into’ working for EFM, but I decided to stay because I enjoy it.
What do you enjoy most about working for the NHS?
I love the variety it brings; one day I can be dealing with an operational issue, such as a water leak or car parking issue, the next I’m delivering a brand-new office. There are some mundane tasks, like responding to requests about pests, for example, but I work with some amazing colleagues who make work life very enjoyable.
83% of the employees at Berkshire Healthcare are women – how does the Trust support its female workforce?
The Trust has a great flexible approach to working which allows you to maintain a good work-life balance. If the family are organised and happy, it’s much easier to deliver at work to the best of your ability.
What advice would you give to other women considering a career in estates and facilities Management?
I don’t feel there are gender obstacles in estates and facilities management. There are more men in trades (electricians/plumbers etc) generally, but don’t be put off by that. There are many more women getting into engineering now, which is fantastic, and there are plenty of job roles such as facilities, project management, building design, surveying, all carried out by women as well as men.
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