Barking and Dagenham College students on construction and engineering courses have been part of a 2-year employability programme delivered by Women into Construction. To date they benefited from a number of group sessions with employers, two site visits with Bouygues UK and the recently launched remote mentorship programme. One particularly active member of the WiC Club at BDC is Mary Boateng who in July 2021 secured employment in the industry.
Mary moved to London from The Netherlands in 2017. She was keen to receive further training and gain her qualifications, and have the opportunity to earn money and build her career in the industry she enjoys so much; construction!
WiC Club participation at BDC and IAG
Mary’s favourite subjects at school included science and maths and enrolling on the BTEC Level 3 Foundation course in Design in Construction and Built Environment at BDC in 2017 was her next step.
Training and progression
Mary successfully completed her BTEC Level 3 at BDC in July 2021, and was supported by WIC to complete her L1 Health and Safety in the Construction Environment Certificate and the CSCS test, which will allow her to gain safe access to building sites. She completed a Bouygues site induction and is now applying for an apprenticeship with them.
Remote mentoring and work placement
Her tutors were pleased to hear that Women into Construction sourced a work placement at Barratt Homes for Mary for April 2020 which unfortunately due to the lockdown was first postponed and later cancelled. Instead, and as part of the WiC remote mentoring scheme, Mary completed a series of mentoring sessions over the telephone and by zoom with information manager Lucy Wilford at Mid-Group. Lucy has an amazing record in delivering sustainability in construction; and was able to support Mary with job applications.
Mary reported back to WiC project manager Anna Walterskotter about her first session with Lucy: ‘The meeting with my mentor went very well. We answered the questions on the list you ask us to use and it was very helpful. It made us tackle the main and important questions, some of them being the way forward, and things I do to help me better my prospects in the education sector. We also talked about work, types of applications and interviews, and my CV.’
‘We discussed how things are now with Lucy’s company Mid-Group and the whole construction industry; now with this Coronavirus – also how the lockdown has and will be affecting them. I really enjoyed our meeting and in the end we summed it up by finding solutions to all the open questions. Lucy sent me links to websites. Thank you so much Anna for making this come true, I am happy and hopeful, looking forward.’
In July 2021, Mary was matched with Bouygues UK for an initial 2-week work placement on a site in Central London as Assistant Site Administrator. She impressed her manager so much that she was subsequently offered paid employment on the site, where she supported the CSR team (e.g. with a site visit) and general admin support. Mary is learning rapidly and really enjoys her exposure to the various teams on site. She applied for an apprenticeship relating to her BTEC and is hopeful to start in September.
CSR Manager Suzi Mattos is thrilled with Mary’s conduct and attitude to work: ‘Mary is such a lovely person to have with us. She has been extremely helpful with organising a recent site visit for WiC candidates and has been able to pick up tasks that I set her swiftyly and efficiently.’
WiC project manager Anna says: ‘We are delighted to work with BDC students and staff to support this cohort of young women into work placements and mentorships with an eye on progression to apprenticeships, further training and employment. Mary has been super responsive to all the support our participating employers offered to her and I am wishing Mary the very best for her career in construction.’
For details on current Women into Construction programmes, visit our programmes page.