A new England-wide employment scheme is looking to encourage more women to join the residential construction workforce and especially to go into site management roles.

Launched by the Home Builders Federation and the not-for-profit organisation, Women Into Construction, the scheme is offering women work placement opportunities on sites with access to support with childcare and training costs. The hope is that this will have the duel effect of reducing skills shortages in the industry and rebranding construction as a rewarding and practical career opportunity for people from all walks of life. Read on for more details…

Why is this needed?

The construction industry has been struggling with skills shortages for several years and, according to the latest report from data specialists, Glenigan, will continue to suffer from “increased difficulties in recruiting and retaining skilled workers” in the year ahead. The report says the industry has 49,000 unfilled positions, 96% more than before the Covid pandemic.

Clearly the industry needs to attract new talent and women are seen by many as a key target. Currently, women make up only 16% of the construction workforce and just 4% of site managers. This new employment scheme seeks to raise these proportions and begin addressing the labour challenges seen across the industry.

Jenny Herdman, Director for HBF’s home building skills partnership, said:

“The home building industry is facing a significant skills shortage. If we are to build the new housing this country desperately needs, it is vital that we attract a broad range of entrants into the industry. HBF is delighted to be working with Women into Construction to increase the number of female site managers in the industry and show that there are opportunities for people of all backgrounds and talents to develop a rewarding career in home building.”

Business Development Director at Women into Construction, Jacqui Wordsworth, added:

“With women representing just 4% of site managers, we want to inspire and encourage more women to take up a career in home building – helping us and our employer partners to change the face of construction.”  

What is being offered?

Women who register on the programme will be supported to access childcare and benefit from a week of online insight and development sessions, including employability and basic health and safety training plus Q&As with site managers and employers.

This will be followed by a two-week work placement which will take place at construction sites across England, offering women a taste of the site manager role and how they could help deliver homes.

Alongside this, the programme will include other site visits (at central locations or online) and 1-1 coaching and support from Women into Construction.

Nine of the UK’s leading housebuilders have already come on board with the initiative, including Barratt Developments, Bellway Homes, Cala Homes, The Hill Group, Keepmoat, Persimmon Homes, Redrow, St Modwen and Vistry Group.

Find out more

The programme has 45 places available in 2023 and is now actively looking for enthusiastic women who are willing to learn and have a passion for the future of construction.

If you are (or you know of a woman that might be) interested in joining this programme, visit Women into Construction for further details.

There is also an online information session at 11am on Tuesday 31 January 2023, which women can sign up to here.


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