Empowering women to enter the construction industry

by Oct 11, 2023Case studies, Funding, News, News & events

According to the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) (2023), women represent only 15% of the construction workforce. At the same time, the construction industry is facing a skills shortage suggesting that this crucial source of talent is being under-utilised.

Dedicated to addressing this unequal gender balance and providing women with a route into the construction industry, Coleg Gwent – one of Wales’ largest and top-performing higher education colleges – has been working in collaboration with the City & Guilds Foundation to provide funded places on a women-only construction course.

The course has been designed to not only offer women a potential career change and a stepping-stone into the industry but also to help women develop confidence and skills in household maintenance. In a period of financial instability, developing competence and independence in carrying out household maintenance and improvements could prove particularly beneficial for many women and families.

Twenty one women have so far received bursary funding for the 12-week course. It’s aim is to tackle barriers to learning through part-time delivery on weekday evenings, thus catering for a range of circumstances, and by providing an environment in which women are not discouraged from developing the necessary skills to enter the sector. As Sarah Jones, Head of Construction, explains:

“The women-only course puts women at ease, provides them with a friendly environment and makes them feel comfortable asking any questions they want to without feeling inferior.”

Covering a range of essential skills, including bricklaying, carpentry, decorating, painting, plastering and plumbing, the course aims to introduce women to a wide range of construction trades, facilitating progression to additional accredited training in their chosen trade. One learner summed up what she had learnt as “… hanging a door, plumbing joints – all if it. [I] loved it. Loved it all. Want to do more.” With another learner summing up the best thing about the course as “gaining [the] confidence to have a go at DIY at home.”

The course has proved extremely popular and has been oversubscribed since its introduction, with Jones explaining that the College will be delivering the course twice for the new term to meet increasing demand. With the Foundation bursaries also removing financial barriers to the programme, even more women have been able to access this valuable opportunity.

Polly Rowe from the City & Guilds Foundation explains:

‘When Coleg Gwent told us about this programme we knew that there was a real opportunity to support the women to develop skills in, what is typically, a male dominated sector. The hope is that the course acts as a route in to further construction employment, education or training, and we’ll be working with Coleg Gwent to track this impact long term.’

Find out more about the range of construction courses available at Coleg Gwent here.

Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) (2023) Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Want to be kept up to date?

Sign up to City & Guilds Foundation email alerts and newsletter

Previous posts

Human-Centered Leadership: Nurturing Creativity, Connection, and Collaboration

We attended Anthropy this month. The second edition of a gathering like no other, set in the beautiful Eden Project in Cornwall to bring together leading voices to imagine a better world. It’s no surprise that leadership was at the centre of conversations as a tool...

Big Idea Fund: Five new projects awarded funding to unlock potential and support rehabilitation

Back in June we announced that we were inviting expressions of interest for the second round of our Big Idea Fund. The £1m Big Idea Fund was established in 2019 as the first major initiative of our Foundation, to support prisoners with upskilling to aid their...

Neurodiversity Index 2024

Did you know that in the workplace, 40% of neurodivergent employees say they are impacted most days in the workplace by their condition and only 32% of employees felt that they can disclose their neurodivergent condition? These are some of the key findings from our...

Making a real difference, and genuinely changing lives

I have always known that City & Guilds is a force for good – helping millions of people to access skills. And it’s no surprise really that for nearly 150 years our purpose has remained the same – to help people, organisations and economies to develop their skills...

Foundation & Friends Monthly Round-up: September 2023

As the final days of Summer gently give way to the crisp embrace of autumn here in the UK, we find ourselves at the threshold of another monthly roundup. We have loads of exciting events and opportunities lined up, so let’s dive right In.

Celebrating the impact of learning and development

At the heart of City & Guilds is our purpose which has skills development deep rooted in it. And through the Foundation one of our jobs is to celebrate where really great skills development is happening, and an example of how we do that is our Princess Royal...

Introducing the newly formed Young Learner Advisory Team

In a bold step towards ensuring that learners experience and perspectives are at the heart of key decision-making processes here at City & Guilds, we are pleased to introduce the newly formed Young Learner Advisory Team. This team will provide an ‘active voice’...

City & Guilds launches partnership with The Green Edge

We are excited to announce a new collaboration with sustainable business analysts, The Green Edge, to produce a bespoke podcast series, designed to help us respond to the latest developments in green skills markets.

Eliminating barriers to employment in the green sector

Creating and filling green jobs is crucial if the UK is to meet its target to deliver a net-zero economy by 2050 (Green Jobs Taskforce, 2021). Green jobs help to protect and restore the natural environment whilst also boosting economic growth, improving energy...

Podcast episodes

Share This