This International Women’s Day, an all-female team of SCG’s construction staff are encouraging women to look beyond gender stereotypes and get involved in the industry.
The highly skilled and knowledgeable women within the college’s construction team have made a significant difference in helping young women become aware of the different vocations open to them.
The staff (from left to right) are:
- Ffion Hobbs, a Bench Joinery Technician who was previously an apprentice with SCG
- Holly Edwards, an Electrician Installation Assessor
- Josephine Jarrett, a Painting and Decorating Teacher
- Danielle Davies, a Plumbing and Gas Teacher
- Amanda Crane, a Progression Specialist who coordinates all industry placements within construction
- Teresa Cross, a Painting and Decorating Assessor
Amanda emphasised that right now is an especially exciting time to be working in construction trades. “I love working alongside these professionals in construction as this area of employment is currently booming,” she said. “Employers are keen to give young people an opportunity to prove themselves, leading to many success stories.”
Women only make up 14% of the construction industry, but educational providers are helping this figure to rise, with 37% of people who enter the industry through higher education courses now being women.
The construction staff at Shrewsbury Colleges Group are eager to contribute towards this rise as much as possible by encouraging young women to enrol onto their construction courses. Stuart Raine, Curriculum Leader for Construction and Trades said: “We need more women in construction. Women make up 50% of the population and the industry is missing out on their skills and knowledge.”
“The stereotypical outlook on construction should be left behind in the past,” he continued. “We need to embrace the fact that construction is a 21st century industry.”
SCG’s female construction staff all have different backgrounds in the industry and decided to pursue their trades for different reasons.
Danielle, who teaches Plumbing and Gas, discovered her interest in the trade at a young age. “I first became interested in a career in plumbing at the age of 13 when I took part in work experience with a local plumbing company and loved it!” she explained.
After Danielle left school, she studied a four-year Plumbing & Heating apprentice programme at SCG and became a Gas Safe Engineer for a company in Telford. She returned to the college to pass on her knowledge and experience to the next generation of plumbing and heating engineers.
For Ffion, working in construction was a family tradition. “I came into construction by following in the footsteps of my grandfather who was a bench joiner and my mother who did building studies,” she said. “I always enjoyed practical subjects and working with my hands, as well as designing and making products, all of which a bench joinery course and an apprenticeship allowed me to do.”
Not only are these women all incredibly skilled in their trades but pursuing construction (despite the obstacle of being such a minority in the workforce) has allowed them to find work they are passionate about.
Danielle was drawn to plumbing because she loves problem-solving. She said: “The thing I enjoy most about plumbing and working within the construction industry is the challenges you face and the satisfaction you get when you overcome and solve them. No two days are the same!”
Meanwhile, Josephine and Teresa (who are twin sisters) spoke about the unforgettable experiences they have had during their careers in painting and decorating: “As painters and decorators, we have had the opportunity to work across the country, creating high-end stencil work in churches, hanging wide width wallpaper in banks, and working in people’s homes to creating inviting spaces.”
Stuart had incredibly high praise for the team of female construction staff, saying: “All these talented women have had significant industry experience and have used their skills and knowledge to enthuse young women to venture into construction. They are all outstanding in their fields and prove that the industry has opportunities for more women to access the vast array of jobs present within it.”
As a college, SCG is proud to promote equal opportunities in construction. If anything from Brickwork to Carpentry to Electrical Installation sparks your interest, the team would be more than happy to meet you and show you around the facilities at London Road Campus.