As National Apprenticeship Week is upon us, ASW Property Services discusses how opportunities traditionally associated with men are becoming more available to women in the construction sector
While the latest official figures on apprenticeships (for 2016-2017) show that only 620 females entered the sector that year compared with more than 20,000 men, unofficial figures and anecdotal evidence paints a very different – and much more positive – picture.
According to construction careers website Go Construct, some 37% of new entrants into the construction sector coming from higher education are women; it also estimates that 14 per cent of the total workforce in this sector are now female.
These statistics reflect the experience of ASW Property Services, a property services specialist covering Wales, the Midlands and the South West of England, in recent years.
ASW is keen to champion women in the construction sector, leading on roles that were once traditionally filled by males. In recent years, multiple members of female staff at ASW have developed into such roles, such as site manager, skilled plasterer and plumber.
Kelly Martin was employed by ASW as on-site administrator in September 2014, through Beyond Bricks and Mortar, an important initiative to secure community benefits from all suitable council activities in the City and County of Swansea for the lasting benefits of the community.
Kelly dealt with a tenant’s queries of a difficult nature, she was promoted to tenant liaison officer (TLO), covering several sites across Swansea and Bridgend. In November 2015, she trained as a site supervisor, completing her Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme course, carrying out this role as well as her TLO role.
On completion of her Site Management Safety Training Scheme course in September 2018, she was promoted to site manager in November 2018. Since, she has been running sites including work on chimneys, balconies and door voice entry – to name but a few.
Talking about her development and progression since working with ASW, Kelly Martin comments: “I have really delved into the roles I have been given while working with ASW. I had no relative experience in these job roles before working here. I appreciate how the company champions women working in such a traditionally heavily male-dominated industry.”
Lisa Kostromin, plasterer at ASW comments: “I have always wanted to try my hand at plastering and I am so glad I did. I have reaped so many rewards from the qualifications and training I have received, and this will allow me to continue on my journey with ASW.
“Being successful in the awards I have been nominated in has given me the confidence to know that I can do whatever I put my mind to. I can’t wait to develop further skills and progress in my career with ASW.”
Jennifer Champion joined ASW in January 2018. ASW supported Jennifer while she undertook a multi-trade apprenticeship course and has since worked on various projects – including kitchens and bathrooms.
Jennifer Champion added: “I really enjoy working on projects that are traditionally undertaken by male staff – for example, plumbing. I am now working to attain my level 3 qualification, while undertaking my daily roles at ASW.
“I’m excited as to where the future could lead for me – I have high aspirations of developing my career path to quantity surveyor or site manager and I know I am on the right path to get me there.”
Managing director of ASW, Anthony Thomas, said: “Equality should be a priority in every business, and we strive to make sure the construction industry is no different. I am very passionate about helping female staff develop and progress into roles they have a drive for – and our female staff are absolutely fantastic.”