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The women in construction changing the face of the industry

Women in construction are slowly but surely changing public perception of the classically male-dominated industry.

Today is International Women’s Day (8 March), also coinciding with Apprenticeship Week 2019,  and a number of companies are celebrating the impact women in construction make. Currently, 14% of construction workers are women, with only two per cent working on building sites.

Rebecca Palmer is head of construction at Prettys solicitors firm in Ipswich. She says that she often finds herself the only woman in the room, but wants to make young women aware of the opportunities available to them.

Rebecca said: “You are working together, in multi-disciplinary teams, towards the common goal of creating something physical with a broader purpose, typically contributing to the formation of a new workplace, school, home, museum, energy provider or others – the list is endless! It is something palpable and for me, it has real meaning.”

“I would encourage anybody, irrespective of gender, to consider construction as a career – with such a variety of roles there is something to suit every personality type and temperament, plus the benefit of a perceptible lasting legacy.”

She urges schools to encourage construction as a career option and said the industry should provide flexibility in working hours. Her team covers all aspects of construction, from planning through to commercial property

Her comments were echoed by Laura Collins, a quantity surveyor for Prettys who won ‘Young Surveyor of the Year’ at the RICS Matrics Young Surveyor of the Year Awards. She said she was unaware of what quantity surveyors did while at school and said the industry must promote a good work-life balance to attract more women.

The annual Women in Construction summit is being held in London on 16 May. The event will feature speakers from across the industry and promises to ask ‘difficult question’ and examine what the industry can do better to encourage diversity.

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