By Anne OKafor
According to a blog posted by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), in June 2021, the construction industry will need 216,800 new workers by 2025 to meet demands.
This is a need for traditional skills but also for skills that can contribute towards the changing image of the construction industry and its growing needs, such as with the net zero emissions and building safety.
Part of these 216,800 people will require skills in leadership and management, digital skills and skills relating to energy efficiency.
At current only 12.5% of the workforce are women - this is a missed opportunity. I am proud to be working in construction and believe it offers a career of opportunity for many women. Construction can be a rewarding career which offers progression and development opportunities for everyone willing to seek it out. There are job roles to suit every personality and I strongly believe we will see new job roles created to fulfil the ever-changing face of the industry in its digital expansion.
So how do we encourage more women and girls that a career in construction is available to them? Through visibility. By being visible and accessible role models, that girls can relate to. This is something I strive for and through my volunteer roles as a Stem Ambassador and a Leader in training at Girlguiding Scotland, I looked to exemplify.
I was fortunate enough to be able to combine my 3 passions into one event recently and I will share with you how I did that; With the girls in my Brownie unit, we discussed careers in construction and role models using a resource provided by the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) campaign called ‘My skills, My life.’
‘My skills, My life’ is a tried and tested outreach resource to inspire girls to consider a career in STEM. It allows girls to find out about their preferred personality types and matches them with role models who have rewarding and successful careers in STEM.
The platform has over 1000 women role model case studies which has information on related careers pathways.
The resource takes the form of a quiz and allows the girls to identify their personality types - I did this through conversation and providing examples of how the girls may use these traits in their day to day lives, at school and at Brownies.
We talked about their identified personality type, and I shared with them some of the role models and their job titles and asked if they might consider a career in STEM. Most of the girls seemed keen to learn more about some of the job roles highlighted.
We finished the session by getting dressed into high-vis and hard hats while I gave the girls an insight into a day in my working life, as a construction planner .
As an industry we have a long way to go, but if we work towards awareness and let girls and women know about the opportunities available, they can make informed decisions and choices surrounding what career to pursue.
By being visible and approachable role models, others can see our achievements and can see an example of what success can look like for them too.