Women in construction inspire female Stirling pupils

Leading women working in Scotland’s construction industry aimed to attract Stirling’s female high school pupils to take up a career in construction last week.

Women in construction inspire female Stirling pupils

Ffion Bench of Chalk showcases plastering skills

70 female students took part in the skills day hosted at Bannockburn High School. The event was led by prominent women working across a variety of careers in construction. They included stonemason Jess Thomson, who has worked on Stirling Castle, and female digital documentation experts from Historic Environment Scotland who are based at The Engine Shed in Stirling.

The pupils got to try out a range of skills including building surveying, traditional signwriting, stonemasonry, and earth building.

Women in construction inspire female Stirling pupils

Stonemason Jess Thomson demonstrates traditional skills

Women currently make up only 13% of workers in the construction sector, and only 1.5% of Modern Apprentices within the construction industry in Scotland. Coinciding with International Women’s Day and the Scottish Apprenticeship Week, the aim of the event was to show young women the significant opportunities that exist within construction.

The event was organised by Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) Forth Valley and Stirling City Heritage Trust and supported by Historic Environment Scotland, Construction Industry Training Board Scotland and Forth Valley Traditional Building Forum.

Women in construction inspire female Stirling pupils

Stirling High Pupils try their hand at earth building

The Stirling schools taking part were: Bannockburn High School, Wallace High School, Stirling High School, Balfron High School, Dunblane High School and Maclaren High School. 

Lindsay Lennie, trust manager of Stirling City Heritage Trust, said: “This event has demonstrated the high level of interest by girls in traditional skills and has given them the chance to meet a variety of women who are experts in their field. It has been an inspiring and engaging day with excellent feedback from the participants. We were delighted to be involved in the delivery of such an innovative and positive event.”

Women in construction inspire female Stirling pupils

Pupils try out traditional signwiriting with Ross Hastie

Jen Henderson, DYW Forth Valley programme manager, said: “With 30% of the Construction industry in Scotland aged 50 and over, we know the sector needs new entrants across a wide range of roles. We also know that there is an unconscious bias of the construction industry amongst young people as being male-dominated with historically, approximately only 2% of Modern Apprenticeships within construction and related sectors in Scotland, being started by women.

“This event has offered exposure to a range of skills and roles that young people may have never considered, providing them with hands-on experiences, and inspiring insight from strong and talented women currently succeeding within the industry. DYW Forth Valley are always happy to support local businesses who are keen to engage with education to promote their industry opportunities in this way.”

Women in construction inspire female Stirling pupils

Brett Sinclair of Marshall Construction demonstrates building surveying to Wallace High Pupils

Other women demonstrating skills on the day included Becky Little from Rebearth, plasterer Ffion Bench from Chalk, stonemason Lara Townsend, Tyler Lott from the Society from the Protection of Ancient Buildings and sign writer Jo Hastings.

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