A Merseyside housing group’s charitable arm has been encouraging women to consider a career in construction by giving them the chance to try out a variety of trade skills.
The ‘taster’ day organised in St Helens by Torus Foundation – the charitable arm of housing provider Torus – gave local women the opportunity to have a go at a variety of activities. These included construction painting and decorating skills, working with wood, and plastering.
Now 16 women from St Helens and Warrington are considering a career in construction after attending a the free session – the second day organised by the foundation – for futures trades-women at the St Helens Chamber of Commerce’s Construction Skills centre in Parr.
“I have always enjoyed being creative and making things, especially with wood,” said Torus tenant, Lisa Ladd. “This was a great opportunity to learn real skills that I can use to make a change in my career.”
Councillor for Parr, Bisi Osundeko, who dropped in to chat to the women and find out more about the opportunity, said: “It’s fantastic that Torus are looking to support the initiative to increase the number of women in a traditionally male dominated workplace and change the face of construction.
“I was really impressed to see the number of women who attended as these events are a great opportunity for local people and women. The women seemed really inspired and they can see that there are no limits to what they can achieve, if given the right opportunity and support.”
The event was also attended by HMS, the construction contracting arm of Torus, and the CITB.
“There is a shortage of trades and multi-skilled trades personnel and we believe in encouraging women to fill these roles,” said Gail Farley, customer relationship manager at HMS. “HMS wants to encourage more woman to try a career in construction and we hope to see our numbers significantly increase over the next few years.”
Following the taster day, all the women chose to continue onto a free two-week accredited Level 1 Construction Course, where they can develop their practical skills, gain a recognised Health & Safety qualification, obtain their CSCS Construction Site Operative Card and find out about practical work placements, with support with childcare and travel costs available throughout their training period.
Dan Bamford, Torus Foundation’s employment and skills manager, added: “We are really pleased with the event and the engagement from our partners in this scheme. Women are vastly underrepresented in the construction sector and we want to give our tenants the opportunity to try new things and for those that have the desire to progress the training and experience, they can to make it a reality and turn it into a career.”