From education to employment

Government funding and training initiatives making industry more accessible

Colleges in South East England are witnessing a growth in female enrolments for construction courses as the trade becomes more attractive to women as a career option.

Alan Corbett, a representative of the Association of South East Colleges (AOSEC), says that government funding and new training programmes are bringing greater skills to the workforce, and increasing jobs and prosperity in the region.

“The cliché of a builder being male and behaving in a certain manner is old hat,” says Mr Corbett. “Many of our female ex-students have progressed to successful building careers and frankly put their male counterparts to shame. Building is no longer the preserve of brawn over brain, but skilled work that requires a range of abilities, both intellectual and manual”.

Oxford & Cherwell Valley College, which is providing “Women in Construction” training to women in South Africa as part of the Olympic Games in 2012, is one high-profile example. The initiative aims to improve women’s livelihoods by encouraging active participation in the construction industry, and offers training in technical and business skills.

Hastings College of Arts and Technology, in East Sussex, has seen a marked increase in enrolments for electrical installation, painting & decorating and plumbing, and the National Diploma for Construction is more popular than in previous years. Women builders” courses at Aylesbury, Amersham & Wycombe and South Kent Colleges are frequently oversubscribed.

“Women builders have these qualities in droves and are showing that there are no longer limits merely due to gender”, Mr Corbett added.

Annabel Hardy.

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