Construction Scheme Women Celebrates One Year

A training and work experience programme designed to entice women back into the workforce and into the construction industry has completed its first year of operation.

From its inception in 2008 to July 2011, the ‘Women into Construction’ programme, run by BeOnsite and supported by CITB-ConstructionSkills, the Industry Training Board, and the Sector Skills Council, trained 248 women on the Olympic Park site. Many of the participants, aged 18-60 and of 14 different ethnicities, were long-term unemployed from surrounding Olympic host boroughs.

“I’m delighted that CITB-ConstructionSkills has supported the ‘Women into Construction’ project,” said Judy Lowe, deputy chairman of CITB-ConstructionSkills and chair of the Construction industry Leadership Forum for Fairness, Inclusion, and Respect (FIR). It is truly inspirational, and for many of the women we heard from at the event, it has turned out to be a life-changing experience.

“However, it is not just women who have benefited. Programs like this one offer a fantastic opportunity for the construction industry to increase the number of women working on construction sites, which remains a challenge for the industry. A little more than 1% of on-site employees are female, which needs to change sooner rather than later. We’ve been working hard to even the playing field and encourage more women to consider a career in construction. A more diverse and representative workforce, both on and off site, will strengthen the construction industry’s skill base and position it to compete internationally.”

Since leaving the Olympic Park in August 2011, the project has expanded across London, training a total of 155 women, with one trainee even qualifying as a JCB driver on day release while serving a prison sentence.

The Olympic Delivery Authority initiated the programme in response to the low number of women on site at the Olympic Park, and it was supported by 14 of the major site contractors, who provided work experience opportunities for the women. It was able to double the number of women working on the Olympic site, and the scheme has so far secured permanent positions for 49 women and work placements for 45 others.

The program’s accomplishments were recognised at an evening event held at Lend Lease’s Regent’s Place headquarters in central London. The event was intended to celebrate and recognise the accomplishments of many of the women nearing the end of the Olympic construction phase.

CITB-ConstructionSkills chose Lend Lease’s not-for-profit company BeOnsite to lead this flagship scheme, building on its success at the Olympic Park.

“The ‘Women into Construction’ scheme has been a great success,” said Kath Moore, project manager for Women into Construction. “Half of the initial cohort has gone on to secure permanent employment in the industry.” Schemes like this one contribute to the development of a diverse workforce in the UK construction industry, with women coming from a variety of backgrounds and circumstances.”

“Apprenticeships are critical to boosting skills in East London,” said Andrew Altman, CEO of the London Legacy Development Corporation. They will be a vital link for locals to access up to 8,000 job opportunities on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park over the next 20 years.”

“We’re collaborating with fantastic projects like Women in Construction to help people get ready for jobs on the Park.” It is yet another example of how legacy plans are more advanced than those of any previous Olympic host city.”

Last Updated on December 30, 2021


Author: Indra Gupta

Indra is an in-house writer with a love of Newcastle United and all things sustainable.

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