Women currently only make up 9% of the industry's workforce and it is important that we do more to welcome into careers in the built environment in the future and ensure this percentage rises.
Although not every role in the trades will appeal to women it is important that we give them access to a range of different jobs and ensure they are aware of the opportunities the industry offer. By not doing so we are missing out on some potential stars and young women are missing out on what could be exciting careers for them.
We recently held our annual Duke of Gloucester's Young Achievers Scheme Awards which celebrates young professionals in the construction industry, and women triumphed. Three out of four of the winners were young women who are building wonderful careers for themselves in the construction industry. However, unfortunately this is unusual and young people coming into construction are still mainly men. I think this is because young girls don’t think about a career in construction and they think it is still a profession for men.
So, it is important we raise awareness of the industry amongst young women. At Construction Youth Trust we offer training in both the professions and the trades and work hard to ensure these courses appeal to young women as well as men. Our Pink Ladies course which is an all-female course is very popular and goes a long way to increasing awareness of the trades in the communities we work in. We also see a lot of female 6th form students attending our Budding Brunels courses which raise awareness of the professions. But we need to all work hard to ensure these young women remain enthusiastic about the industry. It is wonderful to see so many of our corporate partners working hard to ensure that women have access to all the careers they offer, but I feel the industry still has some work to do to be appealing to women.
This lack of appeal can be overcome by women experiencing construction, as they do in our courses and through increased awareness of the different type of jobs there are. I hope that in 5 years’ time there will be at least 20% of the industry workforce being female, but I think there is a lot of work to be done to ensure we achieve that target. Do get in touch if you want to work with us to change the face of construction.