Celebrating success in Kensington & Chelsea!

WiC recently hosted another great Celebration Event at The Skills Centre, Earls Court to applaud the successes of our Women into Construction Kensington and Chelsea Employment Programme.  It was also an opportunity for our women and employers to share some insightful feedback about the programme including tips on how we can make it even better for our next cohort in Spring 2024!

The programme was designed in collaboration with our 8 employer partners – Ardmore, Bouygues UK, Durkan, Lancaster West Neighbourhood Team, Mitie Property Services, Thames Water, United Living and Walter Lilly and our training partner The Skills Centre.

Aimed at women resident in Kensington & Chelsea and surrounding boroughs, we kicked off with an Information Day in June where 18 interested women heard from each of our employers about what projects they were building in the borough, heard from some inspirational role models and discovered more about the array of local work placements on offer.

Following selection to the programme, 12 women started with The Skill Centre’s fantastic trainer Alice Bull on June 19th for 3 weeks of training. From all walks of life, some of our women were returning to work after having children, some had degrees in construction but need some experience and a route into employment and some were career changers with great transferable skills for construction.

The training programme included Level 1 Health & Safety and a CSCS card qualification as well as an introduction to the construction sector and key employability skills (led by our own Jade Jenkins).  During practical taster sessions, the women had a chance to try their hand at practical skills and driving plant equipment at the centre. Suzi Mattos at Bouygues hosted an amazing visit to their Wornington Green site in North Kensington. She said “It was super to show the women a live construction site – they not only had a great tour of this residential development but learnt some  practical DIY Skills in grouting, hosted by the team on site – it was a great day!”. 

During the programme, the women also had the opportunity to sign up for free additional online training with United Living and each woman had a fantastic session at Smartworks who provide a free interview outfit and additional coaching to women seeking work.

Throughout this part of the programme, the participating employers had several chances to meet and interact with the women – including talking about their jobs during mentoring circle sessions and 1-2-1 speed networking, creating some great connections across the group and allowing them to get to know the skills and interests of this great group of women.

The training culminated in the women passing their L2 HSE and CSCS cards – a 100% pass rate for Alice! She said ‘ This is one of the best groups I’ve had the pleasure of teaching – given that most had no construction experience, they were enthusiastic and capable women – well done!

Next WiC matched each woman with an employer for two week’s work experience, supporting the women with travel and childcare costs whilst on placement.  The opportunities included Document Control, Process Technician, Quantity Surveying, Resident Liaison Officer and Plumbing & Heating. The employers were impressed with the work ethic of the women they hosted and the women gained some really useful insights into the roles across each business.  During the feedback session, the group identified some excellent suggestions as to how we can make the placements even more meaningful – we are keen to try out these new ideas for our next programme!

So far, 4 of our women have had offers of paid employment from our participating companies which is fantastic. Natalia Pirvu, Business Support Manager at Mitie said “ We came into this programme thinking we would perhaps recruit to our trade apprenticeships but upon meeting and hosting Michele, we just had to keep her in our business and we are delighted she is starting with us as  Trainee Quantity Surveyor!”

WiC are continuing to help the other women in their Journeys into Construction by supporting with their job searches over the next few months – we look forward to hearing about how they get on! Huge thanks to all the participating employers and The Skills Centre for their support in delivering this impactful programme and of course the women who were fantastic participants!

We are excited to be launching Cohort 2 in Spring 2024. If you’d like to register your interest in the next programme as a participant, please go to our London Programme page