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More women building careers in construction during COVID-19

Women looking for work during the coronavirus pandemic have told how a training programme has helped them secure new careers in the construction industry.

Fifteen women have been trained by Capital City College Training (CCCT) and have been undertaking work placements this month as part of the programme run by Women into Construction, in partnership with Henry Construction and The Guinness Partnership.

According to Women into Construction, just 13 per cent of workers in the construction industry are women and less than one per cent of those are working in the trades – such as bricklaying, electrical work, carpentry, plumbing, surveying, roofing and plastering.

The five-week programme provides participants with help to gain jobs in the industry, both on site and in the office. It includes 10 days’ training followed by a two-week industry placement with advice and support to help participants get into work.

Jennifer Mensah, 25, found it hard to find work despite having completed a master’s degree in construction management this year. Since joining the programme she has been offered a job as an architectural designer with Lendlease.

She said: “I was applying for jobs, but it was very frustrating and I was getting into debt. My mum had had a stroke and I was having to look after my brother. It was a very worrying time for me.

The programme helped me to connect with different companies and gain more experience and the confidence to get the job I have been working all my life for. Without this help it would have been 100 times harder for me and might never have happened.”

Jasmine Anthony, 37, secured a job as an electrician with BW Electrical Contractors after impressing on a placement at a new 1,000-home development in Bromley-by-Bow being built by Henry Construction.

She said: “Working as an electrician was always something I had a passion to do, but I never saw it through until now. I didn’t think I would be able to do it, but the programme gave me the confidence I needed.

When I was told I’d got a job, I couldn’t stop smiling. I didn’t think it would happen so quicky. I’m just so excited.”

Urging women who may be unsure about entering a male-dominated career, she added: “I have been treated with a lot of respect on site. Don’t hold back, just try it!”

Participants on the programme study for a Level 1 Health and Safety qualification and complete training for a CSCS card to enable them to work on site. They also receive support with overcoming barriers to employment, writing CVs and interview skills.

The programme also provides support with IT, childcare and travel.

Work placements and site visits have been provided by Henry Construction, The Guinness Partnership, Alliance Facades Solutions, Assael, Calford Seadon, Danescroft, EU JLL, DPC, BW Electrical Contractors, Hoare Lea, Kone, Metro, PRP, Turley and Waterman Group.

SAEMA (Specialist Access Engineering & Maintenance Association) is extremely encouraged by this news. Not only is it positive for the industry as a whole but it is a step towards redressing the gender imbalance within the industry.

SAEMA, has a long history in delivering the best training and guidance in the temporary and permanent suspended access industry. We are committed to advancing safety through raising the standards in best practice and have a range of objectives in place to ensure customers in the construction and FM sectors are in safe hands.

Read more news here.