WiC and Hill deliver “invaluable” virtual work experience

The virtual work experience took place 26th April – 30th April 2021, offering sixteen WiC participants a week of interactive workshops, activities and presentations that explored commercial, technical and production roles in construction.

Hill Group UK has been working with Women into Construction to deliver pre-employment support for women in Cambridgeshire to increase gender diversity amongst their workforce and supply chain by sponsoring a WiC seconded Project Manager, Shelley Lawrence. The initiative has supported over 100 women with 1-2-1 advice and guidance, training, work
experience and job brokerage in 18 months.

A vital element of the pre-employment support is a practical, hands-on work experience placement. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, facilitating on-site work experience placements has been a challenge. To address this, WiC worked with Hill’s Cambridge Investment Partnership team to produce a week of virtual work experience designed to;

– Build confidence 

– Increase knowledge of the housebuilding process 

Increase knowledge of job roles available in the industry and what they entail 

WiC designed the timetable for the work experience to deliver industry insight from Hill and employment support from WiC, working closely with Hill’s Cambridge Investment Partnership team to produce content that would engage, inform, and inspire.

This included a welcome from Regional Director, Tom Hill, a virtual site tour around the CIP Timberworks project, hosted by Contracts Manager, Chris Luxford and virtual site induction from Contracts Manager, AJ O’Neil.

Across the week, the participants enjoyed Q&A sessions with the commercial, technical and production teams where they discovered the different pathways the teams took into the industry, heard about individual experiences and were able to ask job-specific questions to the experts.

All three departments then offered further insight into their disciplines by including the participants in live meetings and setting interactive activities. Packs were sent out in the post the week prior, so participants had all the resources needed to undertake the activities at home. Activities included an individual design challenge, subcontractor quote comparison task and a programme of works group exercise.

The participants really enjoyed getting to know the teams and gained excellent knowledge through the sessions.

“The involvement of Hill’s team was invaluable. They offered excellent insight into the disciplines and specific roles during the various mock meetings. The activities they provided were purposeful and thought-provoking. It was interesting and inspiring to hear all your stories and made me realise just what’s possible. I now feel confident in applying in the industry. Thank you for taking the time this week, and for investing in getting women into construction.” 

WiC provided employment support through interactive CV, LinkedIn, personal statement, online interview, and reflection exercises. Participants completed the week with mock online interviews from Hill’s Head of HR, Clare Smithson, Contracts Manager, AJ O’Neil and Site Administrator and Zoe Patman-Wallis, who formed a panel with WiC’s Shelley Lawrence.

Participants reported an increase in confidence and industry knowledge having undertaken the experience. They attributed this to the support they received from WiC and Hill, plus the peer-to-peer support across the week. With participants commenting;

 “I thoroughly recommend this programme for anyone who is interested in the construction industry, the course is really informative, and the instructors supported us all the way through.”

“I couldn’t recommend this programme highly enough. It’s opened my eyes to a whole new world of opportunities, and it’s given me the confidence and insight I needed to realise my passion. Thank you!”

“The virtual work experience provided by WiC was impeccably organised and delivered and very well supported by team Hill.”

Participants on the programme are now being supported with training to gain their CSCS cards, practical work placements and industry job brokerage. 

If you would like to know how your company can work with WiC to address the gender imbalance in construction, consider becoming a member or read more about how WiC can support your gender diversity goals.