She is one of only four female crane drivers in the entire country.
Now Vicky Harvey, 31, is one of the team helping to build the University Technical College at Harbourside (UTC@Harbourside) in Newhaven.
She swapped her job in marketing after a friend gave her the opportunity to climb a crane on a site he was working on.
Vicky said: “I started working on the site three weeks ago. We are working on the inner construction of the building and making a lot of progress. The building is changing fast.”
The tower crane Vicky operates has a 60 metre jib and is operated using joysticks, a computer and two radios so she can keep in constant contact with colleagues on the ground.
Since posting some photos from the cab on a local Facebook page Vicky has had a great response from Newhaven residents.
She said: “The people in Newhaven are absolutely lovely, they keep stopping and waving at me and I wave back.”
Contractor Kier Construction is converting and extending Grade II listed marine and carpenters’ workshops at Railway Quay to create the state-of-the-art college. It will offer an outstanding academic and technical education focused on science, engineering, technology, maths and computing and specialise in the skills in demand from the growing marine engineering and environmental technology sectors in the region.
Vicky works for and trained with leading crane company HTC Plant Ltd and studied for three months at a specialist college in Norfolk before qualifying with a Level 2 NVQ in plant operation.
Vicky said: “I would have been interested in studying science and technology at school if I’d have been given the kind of opportunity on offer at the UTC.”
Kier Construction operations manager Kevin Barden said: “This new University Technical College will help tackle the current shortage of technical skills, and it’s fitting that we have Vicky working the crane at this site in particular as she’s an excellent advert to demonstrate that construction isn’t just for men. I hope that the young men and women who walk past and see her will be inspired to go along and see the fantastic facilities the UTC has to offer.”
The college is for 14 to 18 year olds and opens in Newhaven in September.
MP Norman Baker said he has ensured the opening is on track. He secured an agreement for funding to be released to enable the UTC to open on schedule in temporary classrooms while the work on the permanent builidng is completed.