Why should women in the UK go to the construction industry?
If you are a woman living in the UK and are focused, determined and smart then you should look for some unconventional jobs such as project management, construction and technicians. The construction industry, globally and specifically in the UK is not the same as it was 10 years go. This article highlights the significance and importance of female employees in the construction industry and the prospects of having such a job.
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Good pay – good prospects
British Safety Council LogoMore women in construction would help reduce the industry’s chronic skills shortage. Some 82% of construction businesses already say they can’t find enough skilled workers. Now the Construction Products Association is forecasting growth in the sector of 3.0% in 2016 and 3.6% in 2017, driven in part by demand for 300,000 new homes a year. That is likely to create a million more jobs by 2020.
This is great news for ambitious women with good degrees. Graduate jobs in engineering and construction already have some of the highest starting salaries. However, schemes such as the Supporting People – Empowering Communities (SPEC) programme are also helping women to learn valuable skilled manual trades. SPEC, which receives funding from Belfast Council, aims to provide 500 training places for women in Northern Ireland who want to work in construction.
Women have a long and proud history in the construction industry
Back in 1811, when her youngest daughter was just a year old, Sarah Guppy patented a “New Mode of Constructing and Erecting Bridges and Railroads without Arches.” In effect, she invented the means of building a new type of bridge. A few years later she gave her designs (for free) to Thomas Telford, who used them to build the world’s first suspension bridge across the Menai Straits in 1826.
Women are leading a new construction revolution
Women make up half the potential workforce in the UK – no industry can afford to ignore such a diverse talent pool. That’s why architect Caroline Cole founded the Equilibrium Network. “Our aim is to help the construction industry, not simply to promote women” she says, “it’s not just about gender but diversity.” The network’s research indicates that organizations with greater diversity at a senior level “have a tendency to be more profitable.”
The network also makes the point that where we live, the built environment, needs to meet the needs of different people. Greater diversity in the construction industry could lead to better designs for public spaces. Businesses that embrace diversity also benefit from increased creativity, generate more ideas, and are better able to respond to the challenges of a rapidly changing world.
Construction is hard work but it’s worth it
Being a woman in an industry dominated by men can also be a positive point of differentiation that strengthens your career profile. As Casey Elsby, a crane operator at Laing O’Rourke, puts it: “Girls need to know that it’s OK to be interested in jobs that aren’t traditionally stereotypically female.”
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