Powerful women at CASE Construction’s Isando branch
The construction industry might be the first that comes to mind when we think of an industry dominated by men, but according to the Construction Industry Development Board, 48% of construction companies in South Africa are in fact owned by women. However, despite the percentage of companies that are owned by women, female workers make up a small percentage of the industry’s actual workforce.
Over the years, the construction industry has been regarded as a male domain – which is a stereotype that we are trying to change. At CASE Construction we believe in instilling a diverse workforce, where we motivate and encourage our ladies to take on any role in construction.
As a company, we recognise how women are underrepresented in the construction sector and in honour of Women’s Month we’re celebrating ground-breaking women in the industry. We started off by chatting with two of our powerful female employees who play a significant role in shaping the future of CASE Construction South Africa.
Brigitte Higgo is one of our Area Sales Managers at CASE Construction’s Isando branch and looks after parts of Gauteng as well as the North West region. Her career in construction started in 2009 where she worked as a debtor’s clerk at a plant hire company in Port Elizabeth. She grabbed the first opportunity she could get to work on-site and visit clients and she has never looked back ever since!
Everyone has a passion and mine is yellow metal machines!
“I think my love for construction equipment started at the age of 5. Growing up, my dad used to work in materials handling. I remember I always played with small-scale models which he received from various suppliers.
Being able to work for such an amazing company as CASE Construction drives me to do more and to do better. We’re a dynamic team with many years of combined experience that supports each other. It’s always good to look up to someone and have a mentor in the industry that supports and guides you. My Branch Manager, Warren Alexander, is an inspiring leader with so much knowledge of the industry – I’ve learnt so much from him. Every machine handover is a proud moment for me, but one that stands out was when I delivered 15 machines to one client at one time – it was a golden milestone in my career.”
“There are parts of my job that are very enjoyable like getting the opportunity to meet many people from different walks of life and handing over a premium machine that I know customers will be happy with.”
I am very positive and excited about the future of women in the construction industry, especially because women are given more opportunities to work in a ‘man’s world’ and to see how they grab these opportunities with both hands. My advice to women that are starting a career in the construction industry is to keep your mind focused on the end goal and don’t look back in your rear-view mirror too often. It’s not always easy but it’s rewarding to look forward and to work hard. Think big, always trust yourself and make it happen!
– Brigitte Higgo, Area Sales Manager, CASE Construction
Jenny McAlister works in CASE Construction’s workshop, troubleshooting machines while also managing service quotes. She started her construction career in 2015 and joined the CASE Construction team in 2019.
“My brother introduced me to the construction industry many years ago, and now we share the same passion! Every day holds a new challenge – there’s never a dull day. From the beginning, I’ve had a passion for CASE machines, and the knowledge I’ve been able to build over the last two years, while working on the technical and equipment side of the industry, has been enlightening. In your career, one needs to be inspired and, in my role, interacting with clients and solving their problems with success is what inspires and motivates me daily.”
I believe women in the construction industry will soon take over because when women are passionate about something, we’ll go all out to ensure it’s a success. The best piece of advice I’ve received is that persistence overcomes resistance. I’d encourage any woman looking at pursuing a career in construction to make it your business to know and learn everything you can about the machines you’re working with. Ask questions and take advantage of the knowledge from the professionals you work with.