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Girls: Construction needs you

There is nothing like the feeling of impending doom that strikes you as a teenager when you wake up on the morning of exam results day.

We’ve all been there: the dreaded trudge up to the school hall; waiting in line to collect an ominous-looking brown envelope; the relief when you see you passed your history exam (even though you said the First World War started in 1916 instead of 1914).

This is the obligatory pilgrimage that hundreds of thousands of students undertook last week picking up their GCSE results. And this year, girls outperformed their male peers.

Almost 51,000 grade nines – equivalent to a high A* – were awarded across three core subjects: English Literature, English Language and Maths. Of these, around 30,000 were given to girls.

While students up and down the country are making important decisions about their future, construction needs to stand out as an industry that offers exciting opportunities for everybody.

But is construction seen as a viable career choice for young women?

In my experience talking to women already working in this industry, the overwhelming majority are passionate about the work they do and the people they work with.

But unfortunately, a true representation of what the industry is actually like is not being communicated to a younger generation, many of whom still hold the view that construction is like one of those treehouses built by schoolchildren on TV – out of reach with a sign saying ‘No girls allowed’ hanging on the front door.

And as long as young women hold this image of construction, we’ll have a battle on our hands improving the abysmally low statistic that around 14 per cent of our industry’s workforce is female.

CITB today launched a new campaign to encourage female students about to leave school to consider a career in construction. Dubbed ‘Can You Dig It?’, it is the latest initiative that is shouting about the opportunities on offer for young women in this industry.

A personality quiz has been made for girls leaving school to see which role they would be best be suited to in construction. As millennials communicate primarily through digital media, making a quiz for students to access is one of many platforms the industry can use to directly talk to a younger generation.

After all, construction deserves to be better represented: as an industry full of passionate people providing the vital infrastructure and building projects our country needs.


As part of an investigation into diversity in the industry, Construction News is launching the first of three videos into what diversity can bring to your business.

Keep your eyes peeled on Thursday for part one, which focuses on LGBT.


Readers' comments (2)

  • Anne Timpany, Co Founder and Director of multi award winning On Tap Plumbers says “I completely agree with this piece. As a company we are already going into London colleges to encourage students of all diversities to consider a career in the construction industry and for us, specifically, in commercial plumbing. We would love to take on more female apprentice plumbers.
    It’s vitally important to reach young girls via social media as that is specifically how they engage and communicate with their friends and the outside world. There are so many social media platforms open to the construction industry and I think as a young and dynamic company we have been fairly early adopters of the power of social media in our industry with a social media manager who is communicating for us online every day.
    I think so many school children get left behind when they are not academically minded, yet they could achieve a great career in the construction industry and be very successful. Construction sites, especially in London, can easily cater for women workers and there is always someone willing to do the really heavy lifting if a female worker isn’t strong enough.
    I think the outlook is improving but probably not fast enough. With severe staff shortages and a massive skills gap, not to forget Brexit looming upon us, we need to capture the imagination of female school leavers and inspire them to take a look at an industry they may not have considered. I think we also need to inspire schools and their career officers to include the construction industry in their way of thinking too.

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  • Think of construction auditing very seriously,This subject of construction auditing by construction professionals is a missed subject for nearly a century.Females have the ability to become top class Technical auditors.

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