October 21, 2018

New initiative aims to tackle construction industry gaps in South Wales

Specialist recruiter Acorn is encouraging more women to enter the predominately-male construction workforce through a series of events within South Wales. The events, dubbed ‘Careers for Women in Construction’, bring together local employers and jobseekers to discuss fully-funded training opportunities and vacancies within the region.

Lawrence Beach

“Just 12 per cent of the UK construction workforce is made up of women – and this is within an industry which needs more than 40,000 new workers every year,” explains Acorn’s construction operations manager, Lawrence Beach, who is leading the initiative, which has partnered with homelessness charity The Wallich and Torfaen Borough Council to hold events. “As socially responsible recruiters, we have a responsibility to attract new talent into the workforce and promote an inclusive working culture. A diverse workforce is linked to tangible business benefits – decreased staff turnover, higher morale and larger turnover being just a few.

“The construction industry offers amazing opportunities, and we want to actively encourage more women to enter the sector.”

The events are an opportunity for women to find out more about construction careers, with employers such as Wilmott Dixon, BAM and Laing O’Rourke in attendance, as well as further education providers Coleg Gwent and Torfaen County Borough Council.

 39-year-old Samantha Francis started working as a construction labourer through Acorn earlier this year. Although she envisaged a career in construction earlier on, she didn’t know much about the opportunities available for women in the sector at the time.

She describes her decision to try a new career in the construction industry as motivated by her desire to make a difference in such a male-dominated field.

Sam said: “I’m really excited about this new step in my career. Of course, as with any industry it can be challenging, but every day I have the chance to try different activities, instead of having to focus on a unique subject. I love learning all about equipment and tools, so this opportunity was perfect for my personality.

“Change won’t happen on its own, and for the construction industry to evolve, we need more women to join in. There are plenty of opportunities available, I just hope that one day we won’t have to look so hard for them, and that more will come directly to us.”

The next ‘Careers for Women in Construction’ event takes place on Tuesday 2 October at the Congress Theatre in Cwmbran. The event is free to attend. For more information on how to attend, visit https://www.acornpeople.com/wip.