Women into Construction’s 10th Anniversary Celebration Event
Women Into Construction celebrated 10 years of working with contractors clients and partners to increase gender diversity within the industry. In this 10-year period we have supported more than 2,000 women with advice on careers in the construction industry, 1,500 with construction related training, and 750 into paid employment.
We had a stellar cast of speakers and over 250 people attended to celebrate with us. We presented our recently completed Social Return on Investment report, an independent study looking at the impact of the work we do on industry clients, contractors and partners, and our female clients, which found that for every £1 invested in the work of Women Into Construction, £6 worth of social value is generated.
Catherine West MP, spoke about the legacy of the work we have done so far, and the impact this has on women’s lives, enabling them to develop their careers, access higher paid work and improve their own personal lives, as well as those of their families.
Andy Mitchell CBE – CEO of Tideway spoke of Tideway’s commitment to gender parity on the project. This has already been achieved within the Tideway delivery team, but is proving more problematic on the build itself. He stated that ‘If you want to build a great team, you don’t just look at half the squad’.
Sir Terry Morgan CBE – Chairman of HS2, and previously of Crossrail, spoke of Crossrail’s commitment to increasing gender diversity, which is being continued and developed within HS2. He reinforced Andy’s position, stating that there is no skills shortage, simply an under-use of existing talent, and that if women were encouraged and supported to take up the opportunities available, the current perceived skills shortage could easily be addressed.
Mark Lomas – Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at HS2, also stated that he saw no reason why there should be a skills shortage. He spoke of changing the processes of recruitment to make them more equitable, and demonstrated how HS2 are addressing current barriers to equal recruitment, including blind auditions for jobs, testing for competence rather than use of CVs, which has resulted in an increase of women shortlisted for jobs from 17% to 47%. He is promoting flexible working, stating that if we have the expertise to design a railway that can be seen from space to within a few millimetres, with the right will, it should be possible to design a flexible working system for employees.
Sarah Beale – CEO of CITB, stated that the CITB are proud to have supported us to this point, and will continue to support the work we are doing going forward. She spoke of WIC being embedded within the industry and the importance of the collaborative work we are doing with partners and construction companies. She also mentioned the importance of creating a more welcoming environment within the industry to encourage more girls and women to consider construction as a career, and to help them to stay. 3 of our inspiring women spoke about their experiences with WIC.
Bukky Olose came to WIC 7 years ago. She was a newly qualified Environmental Engineer, had just had a baby, and was finding it impossible to find work in the industry. WIC helped her to gain a work-placement on the Victoria Station up-grade, where she quickly demonstrated her competence, and was given full employment. Bukky has worked in the industry ever since, and is now a Senior Environmental Advisor with Taylor Woodrow.
Maria Cobos is a trained electrician who has also progressed through training and a work-placement into employment. She has recently found a passion for working in rail, and is now developing her career in this area.
Shelin McIntosh is an experienced engineer, but was struggling to find employment. Again she took the work-placement route, demonstrating her worth to demolition company Cantillon, who gave her paid employment on completion of the placement. She loves demolition, and is particularly enjoying the environmental and safety side of work on site.
Awards were then given to the women who gained work-placements and employment, and the contractors who engaged with us this year, with special Awards given to:
Most Progressed woman in London
Most Progressed woman in West-Midlands
Most Engaged Contractor in London
Most Engaged Contractor in West-Midlands
Most Engaged New Contractor in London
Most Engaged New Contractor in West-Midlands
Most Engaged Client
We ended with a call to action to our contractors and supporters to help WIC continue to grow, and develop our service across the UK, and a huge thank you to all for a very successful event.