A group of Year 10 girls from Beeston in Leeds sampled hands-on construction taster sessions to mark International Women’s Day 2022 (Tuesday 8th March).
Hosted at Leeds College of Building’s Southbank Campus, the pilot event gave female pupils aged 14 and 15 the opportunity to sample construction-related training. These sessions are ideal for those considering a career in the industry.
Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin, joined the cohort from Cockburn School as they learned more about Transport Planning, Architecture, and Painting & Decorating professions. The students listened to talks by female lecturers and then experienced trade skills firsthand.
More than 70,000 people in West Yorkshire alone work in construction. However, many employers struggle to recruit people with the right skills. Currently, women only make up around 14% of construction industry professionals in the UK.
According to the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), it is estimated that the sector needs to recruit more than 217,000 new workers by 2025 to support its current activity. The issue is worsened by an ageing workforce, with 22% of the UK’s construction workforce aged over 50.
Nikki Davis, Vice Principal – Teaching, Learning & Quality at Leeds College of Building, said:
“The theme for International Women’s Day 2022 is #BreakTheBias. At the College, we are passionate about being inclusive, challenging stereotypes, and responding to the inadequate number of women employed in construction in the UK.
“These free taster sessions are designed to open the eyes of young women to the exciting and fulfilling careers available in this industry. Skilled specialists are highly sought after for varied construction roles, which are very rewarding and can offer excellent progression, development, and pay.
“Our past female students have an excellent track record of high achievement. Many have gained managerial posts, worked on big construction projects with global firms in areas such as civil engineering or architecture, or won industry accolades. Perhaps some of the girls here today may join their ranks.”
Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said:
“For us to deliver that fair and ambitious recovery our region needs, it’s vital that we narrow the skills gap many employers are facing today, and showcase the well-paid, skilled jobs on offer in the construction industry. On International Women’s Day, this event is a fantastic opportunity for young West Yorkshire women to try something new, build their confidence and learn about an exciting new career.
“We know that the most diverse businesses are also the most successful. That’s why it’s so important that we empower women across all our sectors – not only to fulfil their potential, but to fulfil the ambitions and promise of our entire region.”
The Construction Skills Network (CSN) 2021-25 forecast reported that the construction industry’s annual average recruitment requirement is 4.4% a year between now and 2025 – far outstripping the prediction of an annual growth rate of just 1% over the same period. It is expected that construction professionals, technical staff, and construction managers will all become even more highly sought after in the future.
To celebrate International Women’s Day, Leeds College of Building is also offering women over the age of 19 the opportunity to sample a Painting & Decorating programme free of charge. The female-only event, covering basic application of paint effects using rollers and brushes, will run on Friday 11th March from 10am-1pm. To book your place, please contact Student Services on 0113 222 6002 or email [email protected].
Find out more about our International Women’s Day Virtual Event, covering construction careers and training for women, by visiting our Open Events page: www.lcb.ac.uk