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Funding boost for women in construction scheme

 

A successful project to help support women working in the construction sector has won further funding to continue for another three years.

ConstructionSkills, the Sector Skills Council for the industry, took part in the Government funded Women and Work: Sector Pathways Initiative. In Phase 1, over 2,200 women were helped to access work related training and support initiatives in the construction industry – beating the target of 1,800.

Now ConstructionSkills is one of five SSCs selected to continue the programme for another three years. Funding for Phase 2 of the Women and Work: Sector Pathways Initiative will see £660,000 set aside for construction.

 The project aims to help get women into work in construction, but also to help women already working in the sector to get further training in order to develop their careers.

At the launch of Phase 2, Skills Minister David Lammy MP said: “Gender should be no barrier to a successful career. It's essential we provide extra support where it can do most good to help women overcome any barriers to recruitment or progression at work."

Sir Michael Latham, chairman of ConstructionSkills, said: "Women and Work has given us the opportunity to invest in a wide range of entry and progression routes for women in the industry.

"We have worked with employers to provide health and safety and technical training, professional development and mentoring support for graduates. I am delighted that the programme has been extended as it will allow us to continue building on these positive outcomes."

The additional three years’ worth of funding will allow the team to plan more strategically and to aim for a longer term impact. Key goals will be to not only improve recruitment of women, but to address retention and career progression issues.

New activity for 2008 includes:

  • supporting recruitment initiatives and female apprentices,
  • assisting graduate recruitment and women returning to the workforce,
  • providing self employment programmes for women in crafts and trades,
  • developing progression initiatives for women currently working in clerical and administration roles
  • setting up a range of training opportunities for women already employed within the sector to enhance their potential to progress.

Two companies that have already felt the benefit of the Project are Fusion 21 in Merseyside and Warden Construction in Preston.

Karen Browne, Manager and Training Mentor at Warden Construction, said: “All training has a positive impact and we encourage training at all levels. We have been looking for an opportunity like this for years.

“It has which enabled us to provide more training and to enhance the skills of our female employees. The funding was used to progress these individuals, who are already beginning to add value to the company. “

Employee Stacie Arrowsmith said: “As a Quantity Surveyor I go out to construction sites on a regular basis and the Women Leaders in Construction course has given me extra confidence, which in turn has helped others take me seriously.”

Another beneficiary of the scheme was Eloise Pickles, who added: “I started with the company last year and the additional training I have received has helped me understand the company systems, processes and procedures and ensured that I settled in quickly and became a valued member of staff.”

Geoff Williams, Skills Manager at Fusion21, said: “Fusion 21 has worked closely with Women and Work and the experience has been extremely positive, delivering superb outcomes.

“Through this funding we have been able to take on five more female employees and can boast a 100% success rate in helping them into sustainable employment at the end of their training. This is just the sort of support that is needed to help us to increase opportunities for women in the construction industry.”

Fusion 21 employee Lisa Castley said: “I learned so much from the training programme - not just plumbing but other skills such as first aid, health and safety, personal development and a lot more which I’ll need in the future.

“I’ve also got the opportunity to study for my CORGI accreditation if I do well and continue to work hard. Doing this job is enabling me to fulfil my ambition. I can look forward to providing a better future for me and my daughter.”

To keep up to date with all the latest news on what ConstructionSkills is doing and find out more about how your company can get involved in helping secure the future of the UK construction industry register for the Skills Update

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