Are women really leading the way in construction?

Labour Party

The construction industry in the UK is celebrating the achievement of Glayne Price, a female director of an architects in Plymouth, the South of England, who has been named as one of Europe’s most influential women in construction.

Glayne was named one of Europe’s leading ‘Women in Construction and Engineering’ (WICE) and is now in the finals of the awards after she was shortlisted by the WICE judges.

Glayne’s award winning work includes the Horizon Development in Budleigh Salterton, the brand new £22m JCB Academy in Staffordshire from a Grade II listed building, and the multi-million pound regeneration scheme, Home@Heartlands, in Pool, Redruth.

Not only has she overseen these important projects but Glayne has been involved in encouraging 16-18 year olds to consider a career in construction.

The announcement of Glayne’s shortlisting came as one of the country’s biggest house builders, Barratt Homes, said it was seeking to encourage young girls and women to consider a career in construction.

Last year a 17-year-old Barratt Homes apprentice was honoured for her achievements at the Women in Construction Awards after being named Best Apprentice in the under 25 category.

In addition to her day job, Katherine visits schools and colleges and discusses her experiences as a young woman in the construction industry as well as sharing ideas and telling others of the potential opportunities open to women in the construction industry.

Nevertheless, figures for those in the construction industry have plummeted in the last five years by almost a quarter, and females make up a tiny 1.7% of that figure. However, there is slightly more optimistic news in London: London’s Barking and Dagenham College is bucking the trend with 4% of its construction students female.

The construction industry has a great number of career opportunities which should not be seen as the preserve of men. Women can and should consider careers in the industry. The career progression is good and it is potentially well paid.

While the likes of Barratt Homes and others say they are seeking to encourage more women to consider careers in the industry they must put their words into action and actively target young women.

It’s right that the work of women like Katherine and also Glayne should be celebrated within the industry. Their achievements are great, especially in an area so heavily dominated by men but such achievements should not end up being celebrated with a token gesture and then relegated.

Instead there is a real opportunity to use the achievements of these two women to encourage more women to get involved in this exciting ever evolving industry.

Should it really be left to the likes of 17-year-old Katherine to promote the industry? Roles such as electricians are in high demand as fewer are learning the trade-perhaps a recruitment drive for women electricians would be a good area for the industry to start?