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Women in construction 17th May 2019

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Women working in construction

Inspired by the women who are working in construction, we spoke to some of the women working at Aedis about their thoughts and journey into the industry.

At the end of 2016, 2.3 million people were working in the UK construction industry and only 296,000 (13%) were women. Although construction remains a male-dominated workplace, the number of women entering the industry is growing with 37% of new entrants into the industry from higher education being women. There are several events, campaigns and organisations helping to change the under-representation of women in the construction industry.

Vicki Holmes, Digital Manager for Multiplex, was a speaker at the Women in Construction Summit on 16 May 2019 at Olympia London. The event offers career and personal development workshops in addition to topics delivered by top industry experts and decision-makers.

Earlier this year, Vicki wrote: “I’ve done a lot of work with girls in education from early secondary school to degree level, and it’s not that they’re ruling out construction as a career by choice, it’s that they don’t even realise it is there to be considered. A number of the girls I speak to admit that they wouldn’t think to approach a construction company’s stand at a recruitment fair… they would just assume it wasn’t there for them.”.

With 30+ sessions delivered by 60+ speakers – including Sarah Beale, CEO of the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), and Edward McAlpine, Chairman of Sir Robert McAlpine – the Women in Construction Summit greeted 700+ attendees this year. The day’s topics included: Repainting the Industry, Business Commitment to Inclusivity, Taking Charge of Your Career, and TechXConstruction.

Women into Construction is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that promotes gender equality in construction by providing support for women looking to work in the construction industry and assisting contractors to create a more gender-equal workforce. Managing Director Kath Moore was awarded an MBE in 2018 for her services to the construction industry.

Looking further at recruiting under-represented groups in the construction industry, the CITB launched its £5 million Pathways Into Construction commission in October 2018. The commission aims to connect employers with people from priority groups who don’t traditionally enter construction:

  • Young people not in education, training or work, particularly where there are networks to help already in place
  • Long-term unemployed (for longer than 12 months)
  • Service leavers (who left military service at least a year ago)
  • Women wishing to join construction
  • Full-time learners (particularly those studying for construction and built environment diplomas)

Here’s what two of our surveyors had to say about their thoughts and journey into the industry.

Zoe Kenney
Building Control Surveyor

Women working in construction: Zoe Kenney

How long have you worked in the construction industry
Since 2013; both in local authority and now in the private sector.

How did you get into building control?
I applied for a Technician role in building control with a local authority and then moved into an Assistant Building Control Surveyor position which led to me being able to apply for a position with Aedis.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love seeing the end result of a project and feeling that – in some way – I helped to make it happen.

What is one thing you get asked the most in your job?
“Can I speak to a Building Control Surveyor?"

Unfortunately, it is still a male-dominated environment and some people just assume that I am not a surveyor.

What advice would you give to other women considering working in the construction industry?
If it’s something you really want to do, then do it.  It’s hard work, but the results outweigh the effort.

What are your hobbies/interests outside of work?
I love to spend time with my family.

Megan Richardson
Assistant Building Control Surveyor

Women working in construction: Megan Richardson

How long have you worked in the construction industry?
For approximately 5 years.

How did you get into building control?
Through working in building control business support with a local authority.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love the mixture of office work and being out on site.

You are always learning and seeing different types of construction, as well as getting to work as part of a team.

What is one thing you get asked the most in your job?
“How did you get into building control?”

What advice would you give to other women considering working in the construction industry?
It’s a very interesting industry and I would recommend it.

What are your hobbies/interests outside of work?
I enjoy playing Netball.

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