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Changing the face of construction: women breaking barriers and building a more inclusive workforce, one brick at a time

The construction industry has long been synonymous with hard hats, heavy machinery and a workforce mostly made up of men. However, more recently, women are increasingly stepping onto construction sites, wielding tools and taking on leadership roles in what was once considered a male-dominated domain. This shift is not limited to the workforce alone; it extends to Warrington & Vale Royal College’s workshops, in which there is an increasing female presence.

Women in Construction News Header

The construction industry is an evolving landscape, one that now welcomes and celebrates the contributions of women. Warrington & Vale Royal College has seen a surge in the number of women enrolling onto construction courses, reflecting a broader societal shift towards gender equality in a traditionally underrepresented field. That said, the industry still has work to do, with the percentile of female workers still much lower than other sectors.

Recent statistics suggest that this number is on the rise and that increasing numbers of women are choosing to pursue careers in the construction industry. An online article published by Direct Line1 states that the number of women working in trade has increased by 120%, with an estimated number of 33,000 tradeswomen in 2019 compared to 15,000 in 2009. Looking at these numbers, it’s evident that women are making their mark on the construction industry and excelling in roles once considered exclusively male.

David Love, Director, Curriculum & Quality – Construction & Engineering at the college, says: “It’s great to see our adult community learning courses within the construction trades increasing in popularity with female students. We’ve seen a growing number of women wishing to upskill within joinery, brickwork and plumbing. One of the students enrolled on the course after receiving a large quote to repoint her house, so she decided to learn how to do it herself. Another student told me that she is wanting her own independence. It’s wonderful.”

Clare Rushworth

One such student is Clare, a local primary school teacher fed up of needing to ask for help with jobs around the house. So, she enrolled onto the college’s Introduction to Carpentry & Joinery course to learn new skills and increase her independence. Clare is a huge advocate for learning and believes that all adults should continue their education in one way or another. She says: “The tutors are great; they are very patient and understanding. I am having so much fun on this course!”

Another student stepping into the workshop is Bev, a remote worker looking to learn new skills and get out of her comfort zone. Like Clare, Bev is hoping to take the new expertise gained on the course and use it to make home improvements herself. She says: “All of the tutors, including the technicians, are lovely and great to learn from! The workshops have all of the equipment needed to learn, which makes the experience so much better.”

Beverly Bowden

Warrington & Vale Royal College takes pride in its commitment to providing a supportive and inclusive learning environment for students of all ages, including women pursuing careers in construction. Central to the college’s mission is getting students career-ready, by providing guidance and inspiration that excels beyond textbooks. Expert tutors not only share their knowledge and experiences, but offer insight into the unique challenges and opportunities women may encounter in construction.

The future of the construction industry is brighter and more inclusive than ever before, with a wide range of career opportunities. Prominent roles include architects, engineers, project managers and quantity surveyors. Skilled tradespeople such as carpenters, electricians and plumbers are essential for hands-on construction work. Safety professionals ensure worksites are secure, while environmental specialists focus on sustainable practices. Estimators handle project budgets, while equipment operators handle heavy machinery. For those with a vision to lead, there are careers in construction management. Whatever your level of career aspiration, Warrington & Vale Royal College has a construction course for you ranging from introductory courses right the way up to higher education courses. Whether you simply want to learn something new like Clare and Bev, or you want to establish a successful career in the construction industry, Warrington & Vale Royal College can help you to achieve this goal.