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Three quarters of young women being put off traditionally “male-dominated” industries by poor careers advice

ConstructionSkills launches TV advertising campaign to reach young people directly as industry seeks 88,000 new recruits

ConstructionSkills, the Sector Skills Council for the industry, has found that young women feel let down by the careers advice they receive and are being put off traditionally male dominated industries. Research among 2,400 11 to 18 year old girls found that over two thirds (70%) felt there was a gender bias against girls in the careers advice they were given, despite the girls themselves being keen to break gender stereotypes. As a result, ConstructionSkills is launching Positive Image, a TV advertising campaign to reach young women directly.

The ConstructionSkills research found that:

  • 43% felt their career options were limited because of their gender
  • Almost two thirds (62%) of 11-18 year old girls would be happy to work in male-dominated industries but don’t get the advice and information they need
  • Over a quarter (27%) “wouldn’t give gender bias a second thought” in their career choices, and
  • More than a third said they would be happy to “prove themselves against men”

Further, two in five (42%) girls felt they were limited in terms of the options they were given at school simply because they are girls. Almost one third (31%) said they had been discouraged from studying certain subjects at school on the basis of their gender.

The Positive Image campaign aims to attract young people – particularly women – to jobs in construction and the built environment and to give them information and advice about the roles on offer. The campaign comes as the construction industry announces over 88,000 jobs on offer this year, in roles as diverse as CAD designers and town planners to stonemasons and civil engineers, but particularly for those in technical and professional roles.

The organisation is also calling on careers advisers to change the ways that they advise young people to make sure they present the industry accurately and are aware of the diverse roles that modern industries – such as construction – have to offer.

Paul Sykes, recruitment manager for ConstructionSkills, comments: “Our evidence shows that young women want to work in our industry – applications are up, numbers applying to university and vocational courses are up – but that careers advice is not in step with the modern industry or the aspirations of young women themselves. As an industry, we are taking the step of getting directly to young women to show them the range of amazing jobs on offer. We are also working with careers advisers to expand their knowledge of careers in construction, and to encourage them to rethink their attitude to careers in construction.”

Positive Image, which launches on 3 April 2006 with a nationwide television advertising campaign, will aim to show young women how they can “Make Their Mark” by joining the industry. It will highlight iconic buildings – the GLA building, Eden Project and the “armadillo” SECC building in Glasgow – making heroes of the women who have been involved in their construction. The campaign is fronted by youth TV presenter June Sarpong who lends her voice to the television advertising and has supported the campaign.

The launch of the campaign comes a week after Gordon Brown’s budget in which he announced proposals to get women into industries – including construction – in which they are currently under-represented.

ConstructionSkills has also produced a range of Positive Image materials that employers can use in their own recruitment. Leaflets and posters bearing the campaign images and messages can be downloaded by employers for use from: (from 7 April)

Form more information, please read the full press release.

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