A group of construction trainees solely made up of young women is aiming to break down barriers in the male-dominated industry as part of International Women’s Day.
With an aim to inspire more young women to consider a job in construction, landlord ForHousing has launched the new programme. Currently, only around 3.4% of people working in certain roles in construction are women.
The School Links programme is set to launch in September at ForHousing’s Skills Centre in Salford and will give the Key Stage 4 learners a Level 1, multi-trade construction qualification. It will place as much emphasis on hands-on experience as theory to get young women excited to join the industry.
With class sizes between ten and 15, it will create a close-knit group of learners as they master the trades of tiling, bricklaying and joinery. Through partnerships with local schools and companies, the course will encourage schools to recommend the course, while School Links are also working with Salford Council to arrange guest talks from women working in the industry to help the learners picture themselves in the different roles out there.
The young women, aged 15 and 16, will receive careers support throughout the course, and each learner will be supported by a transition worker for advice on next steps for further training or education and employment. The 2022-23 cohort will have the opportunity to become ambassadors for the course, encouraging more young women to aspire to a career in construction when they leave school.
Colette McKune, ForHousing CEO and prominent equal rights campaigner, said: “What will set the course apart is how it will explore any false perceptions, fears or practical issues that might stop young women considering careers in construction. We are committed to creating more possibilities for more people and this opportunity will open so many more doors for young women in Salford.”
International Women’s Day is an annual celebration of women’s achievements and encourages people to think about gender equality and the struggles that many women face in the workplace.
“This year’s campaign theme of ‘Break the Bias’ focuses on how we can create communities free of bias and stereotypes. The new course will give young women the chance to try something they might never have thought was possible for them. We are already excited to see what this cohort can go on to achieve,” added McKune.
The Skills Centre in Salford was set up by progressive landlord ForHousing in 2009 to create new possibilities for people who otherwise might find it hard to secure work or gain qualifications. To date, the centre has helped people from all walks of life reach their potential, allowing them to find employment, learn new skills and gain qualifications, including 142 learners achieving a trade qualification and 23 going into trade specific apprenticeships.