Young women in Leeds build up careers in construction

Claire Harrigan from Leeds College of Building, with Harriet Burrows from Aecom, at the event at Leeds' First Direct Arena.
Claire Harrigan from Leeds College of Building, with Harriet Burrows from Aecom, at the event at Leeds' First Direct Arena.
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YOUNG women have attended a construction event in Leeds in a bid to build up their careers.

More than 60 students and teachers attended the ‘Building your Future’ event at the First Direct Arena last month, with the aim of pursuing apprenticeship opportunities in construction and engineering sectors.

The event, organised by Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) and Leeds College of Building, included an interactive workshop where 25 women, who are currently working in technical roles, spoke about their careers in construction.

Fay Best, from WISE, said: “Women are significantly under-represented in engineering and technology careers.”

She added: “There is no reason why women shouldn’t build successful careers in technical disciplines and events like this one will no doubt inspire them to do so.”

A recent study by the City and Guilds Group revealed that young men are twice as likely to be encouraged to take up a technical apprenticeship as young women.

It also found that in the construction industry in particular, only 0.6 per cent of women were encouraged to make it their career compared to 12 per cent of men.

Janet Beckett, a building services consultant with Carbon Saver UK, said: “Meeting all the incredibly bright and enthusiastic students and challenging their perceptions was a real joy.”

She added: “Women are woefully underrepresented in my field of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and building services design, at around just three per cent.

“I believe much of this is due to media stereotypes and lack of engagement with science, technology, engineering and mathematics in schools, which really ought to begin at primary school.

“It is such a shame as women make great engineers!”

In 2013, 12,800 males started engineering apprenticeships compared to only 400 females.

WISE has been working for 30 years to support education and industry in the UK to attract more women and girls into various careers.

Their aim is to push the presence of female employees from 13 per cent across science, technology, engineering and mathematics to 30 per cent by the year 2020.

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