In Conversation With...

Issue 79

ANGELA CARNEY Managing director at Carney Consultancy and director at Carney CDM.

What were your career ambitions growing up?

Growing up I wanted to be a doctor or a vet. I come from a long-line of strong women and my Gran was a doctor and she inspired me. However, I ended up on a totally different career path.

Tell us about the inception of your company?

Having worked in the construction sector in site management and engineering for a number of years, I was asked to undertake as a delegate the NEBOSH General Certificate course in health & safety. As someone who is always up for a challenge, I jumped at it. As the company I was working for wouldn’t let me return as a site manager after I had my son and I could see a gap in the market, I decided to use my NEBOSH and set up Carney Consultancy in 2002. Two weeks after launching I gave birth to my son. I then went on to have my daughter a couple of years later. You can have it all as a woman, but not often all at the same time, running a business with two young children was very tough. Most recently, myself and directors, Caroline Morton, David Wadds and Martin Crammond have established Carney CDM, and will undertake the roles of principal designer and CDM health & safety adviser services. The company will deliver effective communication with clients and designers throughout the design stage of a project, facilitating design risk workshops with all duty holders and ensuring all pre-construction information is provided. It will also ensure any design changes are reviewed from a health and safety perspective, focussing on both construction risks and risks to end users of the project.

What services do you provide?

Carney Consultancy, specialises in construction and engineering, providing health and safety, environmental and quality consultancy and training. Team members come from a main contracting and subcontracting background and apart from Caroline all our consultants have been trained from scratch never having done health & safety before.

What’s your proudest business achievement?

The recession and pandemic were a challenge but fortunately we were able to grow the business during these periods but what I am really proud and passionate about is being able to develop my team. To watch them progress and to see their personal development is humbling. I also am a huge advocate of supporting women in construction and early on in the business I found it frustrating at the lack of diversity within the sector. Thankfully, this is now changing. I recently sold half of Carney Consultancy and promoted David Wadds and Martin Crammond to directors, this was a proud moment for me to see the younger generation flourishing and in providing them with an opportunity to steer the business forward. I’m also proud to say that Carney CDM is an equal split when it comes to the directors – we have two females and two males and there is a real push from within the sector to highlight the diverse range of jobs available to women within construction.

What challenges have you encountered?

From a sector point of view, we are increasingly seeing companies contracting a lot of work. Years ago, there was always a clear succession line but now there is a lot of sub-contracting. This spans problems when it comes to developing teams – there is not enough investment from all sectors in the industry in apprentices and retaining skills.

How has the industry changed?

There is a collective inward effort to make things better within the construction sector, particularly when it comes to employee wellbeing, mental health and promoting diversity and inclusion.

Is there a mantra you always aspire to do business by?

I have three: Every problem has a solution. You are only as good as your people. I’ll put one-foot in front of the other, let’s look for the tunnel, then let’s look for the light.

How do you like to unwind?

By getting outdoors, I love open water swimming, paddle boarding and walking.

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