Scottish construction firm City Building welcomed Annabelle Ewing MSP, minister for youth and women’s employment, to its RSBI facility this week as the firm highlighted its continuing commitment to encourage women to take up careers in the construction industry.
During her visit Ms Ewing met with a number of female apprentices and tradespeople who shared their experiences of working for the company.
City Building has played a leading role in supporting women to take up careers in the construction industry, with the most recent figures from Skills Development Scotland (SDS) showing that the company is responsible for employing a quarter of all female construction apprentices in Scotland.
In addition, the firm has been responsible for developing and supporting a number of initiatives highlighting the opportunities available to women within the industry. These have included sessions with teachers and pupils at high schools across Glasgow, with female staff within the company taking the lead in encouraging teachers to promote the value of a construction career for young women.
City Building has an extensive training and development programme in place to support women as they develop their careers with the firm and has implemented a female mentor programme with the aim of encouraging younger members of the team to learn from their more experienced co-workers. A group of female managers also set up a peer network where they can meet regularly to share experiences and discuss any concerns. The company is also supporting its female workforce through NHC qualifications in Electrical as part of its Construction for All initiative which aims to open up the construction industry as a career to all communities.
One of the team who met Ms Ewing and was brought on through the Construction for All initiative was trainee supervisor Tracey Jefferson, who joined City Building as an apprentice and is currently studying for an HNC in Construction Management with the support of the company.
Speaking of her experiences, Tracey said: “If there’s one thing that working for City Building has taught me, it’s that there’s no limit to your ambitions if you’re prepared to work hard and take advantage of the opportunities in front of you – regardless of whether you’re a man or a woman.
“When I was younger, I’d always thought of a career in construction, but the opportunities just weren’t there – especially for women. This all changed for me thanks to the City Building. Since qualifying as a full-time joiner in 2010, I’ve wanted to make sure that other women who join the company receive the same help, support and encouragement as I did to help make their dreams a reality.”
Annabelle Ewing, minister for youth and women’s employment, said: “It has been wonderful meeting Tracey and others who have gained so much from City Building.
“Whether it is through mentoring or speaking to school pupils, getting the message out that anyone can achieve their goals if you put in the work is incredibly important for all young people, but especially so for women wanting to go into traditionally male-dominated careers.
“We know that the construction sector in Scotland has a huge impact on the country’s economy and that means there are more opportunities for women to explore a variety of careers.”
Councillor Maureen Burke, chair of City Building, said: “City Building is very proud to lead the way in encouraging young women to consider careers in the construction industry and to support and promote them through the ranks.
“We have a strong history of highlighting the importance of women in construction and look forward to seeing the number of women in construction roles grow over the next few years.”
In addition to leading the way in the recruitment of female apprentices the construction firm has also proved to be a pioneer when it comes to promoting women through the ranks. The company is currently supporting 20 per cent of its female trades people through qualifications that will see them advance to manager level.
The visit follows first minister Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement last week of the ‘You work, You Learn, You Earn’ campaign aimed at promoting Modern Apprenticeships as career options for young women.
The campaign will highlight the range of opportunities open to young people and will encourage them to consider Modern Apprenticeships in roles traditionally regarded as male dominated.