Women into Home Building Programme – reflecting on the success of the first two Cohorts

As we plan to open applications for Cohort 3 of our 2023 Home Builders Federation (HBF) ‘Women into Home Building‘ collaborative programme, we reflect on the successes from this initiative so far…

As part of the HBF Skills Partnership strategy to attract and hire from a wider, more diverse talent pool, offer fair and equal opportunities to all and to create a more intentionally inclusive workplace, WiC developed a bespoke, nationwide multi-cohort programme to support women into trainee site management roles within the Home Building sector. In total nine Home Builders, who are also Platinum members of WiC, signed up to take part; Barratt Developments, Bellway Homes, Cala Homes, Hill, Keepmoat, Persimmon Homes, Redrow, St Modwen Homes and Vistry Group. Our key objectives on delivery were to raise aspirations and awareness of the Home Building sector, open up employment opportunities through upskilling and provide practical experience for these women and to diversify the workforce.

We spoke to Jenny Herdman, Director for HBF’s Home Building Skills Partnership, about why this is such an important programme; “The HBF Women into Homebuilding programme is creating a route for women to enter home building site management roles. Women represent just 4% of Site Managers and we are eager to diversify the workforce and support women to thrive in our industry.”

We have delivered two programmes to date – in February and May 2023. Each began with an online information session where interested women could hear from WiC, HBF and the nine Home Builders about the programme in more detail, their companies and opportunities as well as hearing from female Site Managers about their own journeys into construction. 122 women registered their interest in these events with 99 in total attending across both sessions.

Following this, WiC facilitated both in person site visits at Vistry Group, London and Persimmon Homes, Birmingham coupled with virtual site visits delivered by female Site Managers. 54 women attended, giving them exposure to live sites and site teams.

After a rigorous selection process, 25 women were selected to take part in the programmes which incorporates an online ‘Insight into Home Building’ week, delivered by WiC, with construction related workshops supported by representatives from the Home Builders, which covered an introduction to home building, the skills required to become a Site Manager and sessions on the latest building techniques in the sector. This was coupled with employability skills and practical tasks designed to build confidence and help the women decide if site management is for them. The Insight week was then followed by a two week work placement across a range of Home Building sites across the UK so that the women can gain onsite experience and greater knowledge of the sector and site management role.

To date, six women have secured jobs with participating companies and the wider construction industry with applications and interviews for others still in progress. WiC continues to support both the women now in employment as well as ones still seeking relevant opportunities.

Our participants felt the programme was incredibly worthwhile, providing them with the opportunity to access roles that they’d never considered before. We caught up with two participants, Theresa and Mbalose Irene who told us;

 “I feel a sense of accomplishment following this programme. I got offered a trainee role and have had so much support within the organisation. I know it will be hard work and I have a way to go but I’m ready for this challenge. I’m ready to begin a new journey in life.” Theresa Kassim who was placed with Vistry

 “It’s a great programme, I hope more women get the opportunity to have an insight into the site management roles and other roles which are so hard for women to access through traditional work placement schemes”. Mbalose Irene Masiye-Mkumba who was placed with The Hill Group

We will be launching Cohort 3 on 7th September so please keep an eye on our Programme page  and social media platforms for more details!