Rebecca Mason: a strong interest in the environment.

First lady

Published:  28 July, 2010

When you’re a proactive and pragmatic HR professional with strong strategic and business awareness, stepping into the shoes as president of the Institute of Builders’ Merchants may seem a logical step. Rebecca Mason, the first woman to fill this post, has been preparing for this role most of her working life. Here, she tells Lisa Arcangeli why IoBM is an important conduit between starting out on a career path and progressing to reach fully fledged merchant status

April was a momentous month. The Institute of Builders’ Merchants invested Rebecca Mason as its first female president on 17 April at its AGM in Solihull.

Mrs Mason joined the Institute’s board of governors in 2006 with considerable training knowledge and experience within a number of industry sectors from construction and quarrying through to waste management.

From graduating with a geography and maths degree, the formidable Mrs Mason has continued her education with an HNC in civil engineering, NVQ Level 4 in waste management, a post-graduate human resource management qualification and more recently, an MBA.

Currently employed as the HR manager at the Ridgeon Group, her responsibilities include dealing with the day-to-day HR caseload as well as the implementation of various HR initiatives as Ridgeons strives to become a ‘first choice employer’.

“I have always had a very strong interest in the environment,” she says. “When I left college, I joined Tarmac as a graduate trainee. I worked in several of the company’s departments and ended up in the estates and geological department. That was brilliant because it used some of the geography and geology I had learned about and helped me with site investigation work, looking for sand and gravel reserves.”

Unfortunately, she was made redundant from this position, as the last recession took its toll on the labour market. But, she quickly found another job working on road construction projects – again using her geological and geographical knowledge – in the land and soils laboratories. Sadly, this position also became redundant and Mrs Mason found herself seeking a job within “a growth market”.

Her search brought her to the waste industry where, she reasoned, there would always be rubbish and therefore job stability. “I started in a technical role, looking after all the site engineering works and the environmental side of the business, dealing with planning applications and with the Environment Agency.

“The waste industry introduced NVQs and it was compulsory. If you wanted to manage a waste facility you had to have it. I got mine then I trained to become an assessor and verifier to help others achieve theirs. When the company I was working for was bought by Waste Recycling Group, they asked me if I would consider training their managers to get their NVQ Level 4’s.” And that is how Mrs Mason moved into a training role.

She set up an assessment centre at the company and also for its customers. The company went national and Mrs Mason took on the role of national training manager.

By now, she was being regarded as an authority on waste matters. WAMITAB, the Waste Management Industry Training & Advisory Board asked her to become a director and trustee.

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