An initiative that has already given a number of young women the skills to begin their careers in the Built Environment sector is gearing up to welcome its next cohort of ambitious students.
Facilitated by New College Lanarkshire, the nine-week Females into Construction course is backed by several sector heavyweights and hub South West, the public-private partnership focused on building community infrastructure within Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Dumfries & Galloway. It provides a collegiate, supportive environment where each participant can find out more about the array of career opportunities available within the sector.
The course, which has no formal entry requirements, is open to women over the age of 16 and offers the opportunity to secure a National 5 qualification in Construction Crafts. From there, participants can progress to pre-apprenticeships or move on to a professional career route of higher national certificate level.
The programme covers painting and decorating, masonry work, carpentry and joinery, and includes work placements, site visits and ambassador talks facilitated by contracting partners Kier, Graham, Morrisons and Morgan Sindall. It will operate out of New College Lanarkshire’s Motherwell Campus beginning in April.
Two participants from the course last year were Hollie McArthur and Helena Montague and both are doing construction-related courses at college.
Hollie said: “I found the females into construction course to be a great experience. It is a good way to get into the construction industry. I thought the course was a good taster and it has really helped me on the City and Guilds Pre- Apprentice course I’m working on now.”
Helena said: “The females into construction course was good because of the mix of subjects and the variety of the work. It has helped me progress and I am very hopeful to find work in the industry and progress my studies at a higher level.”
Across the UK, women represent less than 15% of the construction workforce. In Scotland, they make up less than 2% of modern apprenticeships within the industry.
Michael McBrearty, chief executive of hub South West, said the construction industry needs to embrace the whole of the potential workforce as it is currently going through a period of significant modernisation. To succeed, the sector must attract the top talent, regardless of gender.
“The Females into Construction course has a key part to play in this process,” McBrearty said. “It’s a fantastic win-win situation that benefits both the industry and young women looking to start out on a challenging and rewarding career.
“The statistics might seem to indicate otherwise, but construction is no longer just a ‘job for the boys’. The fact that the Females into Construction initiative has attracted support from prestigious contracting partners such as Kier, Graham, Morrisons and Morgan Sindall is testament to that.”