The skills gap in the construction has been widening over the past couple of years as the industry struggles with little help from the government to attract new workers.
An interesting article was published in the Daily Express last month which suggested that women could be the answer to filling the dire skills gap.
UK apprenticeships have enjoyed a huge growth spurt over the past five years, rising by 57%. However, this rise hasn’t helped the construction industry, in fact construction apprenticeships have fallen by almost a quarter with females making up just 1.7%.
Thankfully, London’s Barking & Dagenham College is bucking the trend with 4% of its construction students female. Property consultant Richard Carr believes the construction industry is highly inclusive and believes there are many jobs within that women could excel and add value.
His opinion is shared by Kath Moore of Company ‘Women in Construction’ who told the Express:
“Construction should be sold to young women as an area they will be welcomed into.
“It’s potentially well paid and has opportunities to progress. The industry needs to target young women.”
Moore trained as a carpenter and encourages 16-24 year olds to look into taking up an apprenticeship.
Amy Harrington did exactly that and as a 26 year-old female apprentice electrician, she trains at Barking & Dagenham College for one day a week whilst working for a housing association.
However, like much of the construction industry, electrical contractors is a male dominated job with less than one in every thousand being a female.
Speaking to the Express, Amy urged other women to follow in her footsteps: “As an apprentice, being out on jobs with my colleagues means I learn aspects that I can apply to my college work and vice versa.
“Electrical work isn’t particularly hard physically, but it tests your logic skills so you have to be mentally agile.”
Richard Carr hopes to see more women following Amy’s lead and has urged people to speak to the National Apprenticeship Service to learn more about apprenticeships or traineeships.