Berkeley, West London College (WLC) and Women Into Construction (WIC) are coming together to provide a taste of the construction industry to women who may not have previously considered a job in the sector.
Participants will complete a ten-day training programme at the West London Construction Academy (WLCA), located on Berkeley’s Southall Waterside development in the London Borough of Ealing.
Attendees will have the chance to find out about the wide variety of career paths on offer within the sector. They will take part in CV workshops and interactive sessions to develop interview skills as well as completing the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) – an essential qualification for working in the sector. The course has been designed to boost confidence and motivation, as well as providing support for women returning to work with advice on childcare, benefits and tax credits.
Currently women account for just 14 per cent of construction industry professionals. However, through female-focused initiatives more and more women are recognising the range of career opportunities on offer.
To help put participants’ newly learnt skills and knowledge to the test, WIC guarantees the whole group a further ten-day work placement either within site or office-based roles. This invaluable hands-on experience will be matched as closely as possible to the participants’ areas of interest. There will be continued support throughout, as everyone will be partnered with their own personal supervisor from the company as well as a mentor from WIC.
Following this, a ‘next steps day’ will take place to mark the end of the course and allow women to feed back on their experiences and further guidance will be provided to support people’s job searches.
Damian Leydon, operations director at Berkeley West Thames, said: “Alongside the Women Into Construction training programme, we provide the valuable skills and key qualifications to help lay the foundations for a career in construction. In similar programmes, 50 to 70 per cent of participants have gone on to secure a permanent position in the construction industry and progressed in their new career.
“This is an invaluable training programme, so I’d encourage any woman thinking about a career in construction to register – it could be the start of a long and rewarding career.”
Kath Moore MBE, managing director at Women Into Construction said: “With the construction industry facing a workforce shortage, and the lack of women in the sector, programmes like this are extremely beneficial. They provide key industry qualifications, as well as the opportunity to connect with employers like Berkeley, and the opportunity to work alongside other women in what has traditionally been a male-dominated sector. The work-experience element of this programme is key to its success, enabling women to apply their skills in a site setting, gain valuable experience, and potentially progress into a career.”
The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) estimates that the construction sector will grow at a rate of 1.3 per cent over the next five years. It forecasts that an additional 168,500 new workers are needed by 2024 to meet this demand. This WIC training programme is part of the wider objective of the Academy to get more people trained and prepared for jobs in construction.
Run in partnership by Berkeley and West London College, the West London Construction Academy offers students state-of-the-art facilities and a wide range of courses from practical hands-on skills to health and safety training. It is located on Berkeley’s Southall Waterside development, an 88-acre regeneration project that will provide 3,750 new homes and create 21,000 full-time equivalent jobs, 600 of which will be permanent, upon completion.