With women making up only 11% of the construction workforce as a whole, and only 14% of entrants to UK engineering degrees female (ONS figures), one of NAWIC’s key aims is to inspire and attract young women and girls into our vibrant and challenging industry.
Not only is an overall skills shortage of detriment to us all, but to build a truly diverse workforce, we must inspire school leavers to join (and stay) in our industry – for careers that are varied, challenging and rewarding.
With this in mind, the North West committee for NAWIC paired up with Sandbach High School to set up the first NAWIC North West Careers Fair for Year 10-13 female students from local Cheshire and Manchester schools, which took place 26th April 2017.
Facilitated by school headmaster John Leigh and STEM co-ordinator Liz Painter, the afternoon began with a brief introduction from Mr Leigh and NAWIC committee member Loretta Lipworth, followed by a presentation from Louise Sheridan of Ellis William Architects. Students were then free to browse the company stands to learn about the breadth of roles available in STEM and construction industries, meet and be inspired by industry experts, and query subject choices, higher education courses, work experience options, etc.
The afternoon was a great success, with 350+ girls in attendance and over 20 exhibitors from a range of construction fields engaged in supporting the future of our industry.
NAWIC NW Chair Laura Stringer said of the event; “We were thrilled to have such a positive afternoon with the young women at Sandbach High School. Before the event, 10% of the girls said that they would consider a career in construction, and our survey tells us that 50% will consider one after attending the event. That’s a fantastic impact for our first career fair, and we hope to build on this in future events. Big thanks and well done to all those involved in making the event a success.”
Building Careers UK Marketing Manager and NAWIC committee member Jennifer Fisher added; "It's more important than ever to get young people interested in a career in construction - and at BCUK we endeavour to prioritise our commitment to attracting young talent and a diverse workforce to the industry. From an exhibitor perspective as well as part of the NAWIC committee, it was such a pleasure to see the girls get engaged in different aspects of the industy, from engineering to construction law to architecture."