Celebrating International Women’s Day with Claire Burdon

Claire Burdon, based at Wathgill in the North, has worked for Landmarc for 15 years, starting out as a temp in 2003. Over the years, Claire has progressed through the ranks, completing a Building Surveying degree on the way, to reach her current position as Minor Works Project Manager. Here, on International Women’s Day, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, she tells us more about her role at Landmarc.


“I joined Landmarc way back in October 2003 as a temp, then moved into a permanent Service Co-ordinator role in March 2004. A year later I was approached to see if I was interested in becoming a trainee Technical Support Manager (TSM), which involved studying for a Building Surveying degree. I completed this in 2010, achieving a 2.1. After carrying out the full Technical Support Manager role I moved into a Maintenance Manager position in 2014 and then Additional Works Manager in 2016 before taking on my current role of Minor Works Project Manager in October 2018.

Developing skills for the role 

“As Minor Works Project Manager I am responsible for delivering additional works from the agreed Forward Additional Services Plan (FASP), which means working closely with colleagues from the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) and other stakeholders, such as Natural England, Local Authorities, tenants and contractors, to ensure that projects are delivered on time and within budget. 

“I became interested in project management when I was a TSM, as I had to run some of the larger works. It is so rewarding developing a job from the initial idea and seeing it evolve into a useful facility for the end user but the work is very varied and can be challenging. It’s a role I have had to develop, and am still developing, skills for by attending training courses, both internal and external.  

“This includes the internal Construction Design and Management (CDM) 2015 Regulations training course and an external Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) Construction Site Safety, which has resulted in me gaining Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS). Both of these courses were very useful, as they helped reinforce the importance of CDM within the works we undertake, ensuring that the works are planned and carried out safely. My skills are also developed on the ground by managing the works, as there is always something that could have gone better, or that went well, that you can bring to the next project.

Offering solutions to challenges 

“The biggest challenge I face is delivering the FASP within the required time scales. There can often be multiple stakeholders so I need to ensure that everyone is in agreement with the work and how it will be undertaken.  

“For example, I was once tasked with upgrading the fire tracks on Strensall Training Area, which were within a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The Fire Brigade advised that they would like the previous earth tracks upgraded to stone tracks, because they were only passible in a 4 x 4. Natural England and the DIO Ecologist were uncomfortable with this, as they felt that a stone track across the site would have a detrimental effect, both physically and visually, on the SSSI. Instead, it was suggested that the earth tracks were re-graded using the existing materials on site. A sandstone bed could be laid on wet areas before the earth was placed over it, providing a track that would be firm enough to allow a vehicle to travel over it, whilst minimising the visual impact on the site. 

“Working closely with Natural England, the DIO Ecologist, our Rural Estate Delivery Advisor, DIO and the contractor this method was agreed, allowing the works to be delivered within the timescales set out in Natural England’s consent, and providing a track that the fire brigade can use.

Friendly, approachable and supportive colleagues 

“I take joy from the variety of the work I have to deliver, from bracken spraying, to track work, to office refurbishment. Getting out on site to see the work in progress is great, as I get to see some of the most fantastic and interesting views in the North region. An interesting fact that not many people know is that I have my National Proficiency Tests Council (NPTC) Level 2 Certificate in Off Road Driving, so I can get myself to the most out of the way places when needed! 

“Most of all I enjoy the people I work with. They are all friendly, approachable and supportive. If I have any queries (and I can have a lot), I know I can ask advice from them and they are always happy to help.  

“I am really grateful for the ongoing internal and external training and support that Landmarc provides to help me to develop my skills further and become a more effective project manager. They also place a high priority on health and safety and the environment, ensuring that we have a safe place to work and End Users, a safe place to train. 

Women in defence 

“I have never felt that being a woman in the defence industry has been an issue nor has it held me back, as at the end of the day it’s your skills and ability to do the job that matters - gender doesn’t come into it. In fact, in the North, we have more women within the Project Team than men!

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