Working in partnership with HS2

“I think the success of the women that have been supported thus far into employment within the construction sector, is a testament to the great work of the programme and the legacy that HS2 is leaving.”

WiC are delighted to announce that our gold members, High Speed Two (HS2), have committed to a further ‘Young Adults’ collaborative programme in the West Midlands, for an additional 18 months.

At peak construction, HS2 will require 34,000 people to help deliver Britain’s new zero carbon, high-speed railway. However, as a result of an aging workforce and lack of diversity, the construction industry as a whole is facing skills shortages and challenges to bridge this gap. This is why HS2 have worked with WiC to develop and deliver these programmes to support underrepresented groups into careers within the industry. The work experience programmes that we deliver showcases the vast amount of careers available to these women, as well as making these opportunities available and accessible to all, thus leaving a skills legacy.

To date, the four-week programmes have supported 15 women, in three small cohorts, with employability skills and Level 1 Health and Safety, to gain their CSCS cards, coupled with hybrid working within HS2. Activities have included a route planning exercise and presentation, Gender Balance Network sessions and workshops provided by various HS2 service areas including enabling works, planning, health and safety, modular bridges and historic environment.

Of these 15 women, six now work in a variety of different roles within HS2 and their supply chain, one with a homebuilder, one with a construction and development company, and two undertaking further construction-related training. WiC continues to support all 15 on both their continued journeys into construction and employment progression, and development for those in work.

Julie Venn-Morton, Senior Legacy Manager, HS2 Ltd, said: “We have been working with Women into Constriction for a number of years now, developing and running engaging and effective work experience and placement opportunities. Through our joint work we have been able to encourage women, particularly from underrepresented groups, to consider the amazing opportunities available on the HS2 project. We have been able to raise aspirations and have supported many women into fantastic careers in the industry.”

WiC Project Manager, Steph Sheppard told us; “I’m delighted to continue our collaboration with HS2. Since our Young Adult programmes began, whilst in full lockdown, Julie and I have continued to adapt and develop innovative and informative hybrid models of our original concept, ensuring that our WiC women got a real understanding of HS2 and the values behind the project, alongside hearing about the diverse amount of roles it takes to shape the railway from conception to planning to build, and meeting the people within these roles and their journeys on how they got there.”

In the video, produced by HS2, below we hear from Julie and one of our Young Adult participants, Amber, to discover more about the programme and how it has made an impact on both personal and professional development.

We would like to thank HS2 for the use of the video and all of their continued support as we Change the Face of Construction, together.