International Women’s Day 2020

“An equal world is an enabled world” is the key message being promoted this year for International Women’s Day 2020 and is a sentiment shared whole heartedly by TEP.

At TEP we like to lead by example – we don’t have any recruitment initiatives in place or fast track career paths for women, no glass ceilings to break or impossible expectations. We equally don’t have benchmarks or quotas to fulfil. To us gender is not a factor and everyone in our company has achieved what they have because of their skills and abilities alone. TEP wants to empower all their staff to forge their own career paths, to be proud of their achievements and to know that they are being fairly assessed, no matter who they are. We also want them to know that we will support them whether that be through flexible working, volunteer days, our employee benefits or time to talk days.

TEP currently has a 51% female split across the whole company; even our Board is 57% female and in 2019 half of all promotions were to women, highlighting that we are definitely not short of female role models to inspire our future generations.

Women have and are facing many challenges in the work place but supportive working environments and fantastic role models (male and female) can help elevate them and enable them to make a positive impact in the world. Today, TEP wants to raise awareness of and celebrate the fantastic women that are helping our company to grow, and encourage others to follow suit. We also thought they should speak for themselves as they answer these questions:

  • Why did you choose your career?
  • Have you encountered any challenges?
  • How has TEP supported you since you joined?
Sarah Grady – Senior Planner
Master’s degree in Town and Regional Planning
Chartered Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute

“I chose planning as a career as I was fascinated by the way planning shapes the built environment and the impact it can have on where we live. I also enjoy the varied nature of planning and the links that planning has to other areas, such as health and wellbeing and sustainability.

I had a keen interest in geography growing up and through my studies planning felt like the best fit for me; as well as providing a clear career path for me to pursue. What I hadn’t anticipated was the vast type of planning jobs available, such as working in the public or private sector, working for a developer or a consultancy and the variety of work each of them offers. Since graduating I have gained experience on many projects and no project has ever been the same, which I think is what keeps me interested!

Approximately 60% of town planners are male, and I think that there is a real awareness now of the role women in planning play, which is helping to remove barriers but there is still a long way to go in the industry as a whole. However, there are challenges in any job and I feel lucky to not have faced any real barriers throughout my career. I was given an opportunity to undertake a placement with TEP during my degree and that experience helped me to get my first job and eventually make my way back to TEP!

I have worked at TEP for just over a year now and the working environment across the whole company is really supportive. I also feel supported to pursue projects I have an interest in, which TEP encourages and invests time in my development to achieve my goals.”

Alice Kennedy – Principal Landscape Manager 
Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Landscape Planning and Management 
Chartered Member of the Landscape Institute
Associate Member of the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment

“I have wanted to work in the environmental sector since I can remember…I think creating a pond with my dad when I was about 8 years old definitely sparked something off!

The biggest challenge to my career to date has been returning to work last year after having my son and then receiving treatment for cancer. However, with the support of my colleagues and a phased return to work I have settled back in and it’s as if I never left.

I joined TEP as a graduate back in 2011 and since then TEP has helped me achieve my aspiration; in 2013 I became a Chartered Landscape Architect after TEP mentored me through the Pathway to Chartership. My current goal is to complete my assessment for The Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) Level 3 this summer.

TEP is a workplace with a great emphasis on supporting each other to aim high and to celebrate in our accomplishments.”

Katie Shilcock – Director (Ecology)
Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Environmental Management
Associate Member, Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment
Licensed BREEAM Communities Assessor

“I chose a career in ecology because I’ve always enjoyed the outdoors and with Geography being my favourite subject, it was a natural choice when choosing my degree.   

However, after leaving university it took me a few years to get my first break into consultancy. Whilst I enjoyed my previous job, I knew it was not what I was passionate about so decided I needed to make a change. The challenge for me was making the time to apply for positions whilst working full time. Even though I wasn’t where I wanted to be, the experience I gained from my previous employment certainly helped me in my career at TEP, so it definitely was not wasted! 

TEP gave me my first break into the industry.  Since then, TEP has always supported me both in training and career development and is always on hand to help me develop my ideas, particularly in business growth.  At TEP, I get to work with fantastic people across all of our skill teams and enjoy getting to learn new areas of environmental consultancy from all of them.”