Vilma Patterson spent over 30 years in the construction industry as a Director and Shareholder of John G Duff (Annandale) Ltd. Interested in skills development for the industry, she is a past member of the Training Committee for the Construction Industry Training Board for Northern Ireland.

In 2002 she was the founding Chair of the Women in Business Network and is a former Board Member of the Women on the Move Network which works to support and encourage female entrepreneurship.

Ms Patterson is past Chairman of the Probation Board for Northern Ireland and she has been a non-executive member of the Audit Committee of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland and also a Civil Service Commissioner for Northern Ireland.

Previously Vilma was a Member and Chair of the Independent Monitoring Board for HMP Maghaberry 1996 to 2008 and Chairman of the Association of Members of Independent Monitoring Boards for Northern Ireland. She was a member of the Parades Commission for Northern Ireland for period 2006-2010. From 2011 to 2013 she was a member of the Prison Service Pay Review Body. 

Currently she is a Member of the Armed Forces Pay Review Body, a Parole Commissioner for Northern Ireland and Member of the Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland.