Career Bites – a visit from a construction manager and an architect

Renovations General Manager Jennifer Parker and ex-Westlake student and Healthcare Architect Edith Chan recently inspired promising ākonga at Westlake Girls.

Jenny did not study at university but decided to move straight into the world of work. With “an open mind and a willingness to learn”, she chased her passion for construction. Currently, Jenny works as a General Manager at Licensed Renovations. She demonstrates her advocacy for empowering women in construction as the founder of SHE Property Care Limited and NAWIC NZ’s (National Association of Women in Construction) former president. SHE Property Care is a proud female-owned property care company established in 2021. Impressively, she also is the New Zealand Roller Hockey Women’s Team’s Manager!

Edith is a Healthcare Architect and NAWIC’s current Chair in the Auckland Chapter. She graduated from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Architecture. Edith shared an impressive project in which she was involved in planning and designing a Christchurch Hospital after a tragic earthquake. 

Edith and Jenny enthusiastically shared the accomplishments of the female community in the Trade sector. Over the past ten years, the population of women in construction has increased by an impressive 12-13%. There have also been small but significant victories, like the provision of women’s sanitary products at construction sites and companies, as well as more discussions happening about menstruation and pregnancies. Jenny asserts, “No job should have a gender. You should be judged on skills, attitude, and ability only. 

Jenny outlined her daily routine as a General Manager in Renovations. She explained that each day varies, from online marketing and networking to driving long distances. For these reasons, she encourages Westlake students to “be practical, hands-on, organised, and nurture your communication skills to equip themselves with the opportunities that the trade sector offers. 

Jenny and Edith’s advice for aspiring rangatahi at Westlake Girls was to “Say yes to every opportunity, and “Don’t be afraid to ask – this is a skill.

Written by Nicole Lao