Celebrating International Women’s Day, Kath Moore reflects on the positive work Women into Construction has done, and continues to do, to support women into the industry.
Reflection is a powerful tool, we don’t often take the opportunity to pause and look back on how far we have come, and it’s important to do so – to learn and to celebrate successes.
Women into Construction began as an initiative to encourage more women to work on the Olympic Park project in London, in 2008. The initial programme was a huge success. We doubled the numbers of women working on the project, and changed the culture, ensuring that women were represented at all levels.
We found that many women were interested in building a career in construction, but didn’t know where to start. We identified a need for support, training and work-placements, as well as engagement with contractors, to assist women at the start of their career journeys.
We then began to work on various programmes across London with different funders and industry partners, supporting women with bespoke advice, guidance, training and work placements before moving into employment. It’s a proven model that has worked again and again over the years – with the right training and work experience women have gained the knowledge and experience they need to break into the industry.
I’m delighted to say that we now run programmes across London, the West Midlands, Essex and Cambridge and have to-date trained over 1,600 women with over half of those going on to gain sustainable employment in construction roles.
It’s fair to say we have grown a lot in the past 11 years. It’s with great thanks to our increasing membership of industry partners and funders who are all actively working to support gender balance in the industry that has got us to where we are today.
It’s encouraging to work with so many organisations who have identified the need and benefit of a gender-balanced workforce, but we all still have a long way to go, together…
Currently, women only represent 14% of the entire UK construction workforce, with just 1.2% of those in trade roles being women.
We are working towards a world where International Women’s Day is not required, where a gender pay gap doesn’t exist, where our daughters, granddaughters and nieces are judged on their ability, not a preconception of their ability based on their sex. We are working towards a world where our industry has a balanced workforce – looking forward, we want to see that 14% figure rise.
I’m extremely proud of my team and the hard work they deliver to support each individual woman who engages with Women into Construction. Their work transforms lives – they give hope and encouragement to women of whom many have arrived at closed doors.
We look forward to continuing to open many more doors for women into the industry and thank our partners for their continued collaboration to do so.
Kath Moore is the managing director of Women into Construction.