New group promoting women in construction aims to leave “a lasting legacy”

New group promoting women in construction aims to leave “a lasting legacy”

10 November 2020

MEPC has launched a new ‘Women Into Construction’ group with all appointed contractors involved in the development of its sites – including Silverstone Park – to improve working environments in construction and attract more women to consider careers in the industry.

The first of 12 monthly ‘roundtable’ sessions was held earlier this month and was attended by the following businesses – all prominent names in construction in the UK.

• Armac Group (demolition, land reclamation)
• Barnwood (construction)
• Bowmer & Kirkland (construction)
• Forkers (civil and ground engineering)
• Gardiner & Theobald (construction and property consultancy)
• Glanville Group (structural and civil engineering)
• Ridge & Partners (property and construction consultancy)
• Wates (construction, development and property services)

MEPC’s Roz Bird, Commercial Director at Silverstone Park, is behind the group and leading it – able to call on her expertise in gender equity in the workplace – is Automotive 30% Club’s Founder Julia Muir.

Roz commented: “The UK has one of the lowest percentages of women working on construction sites anywhere in Europe – it’s a woeful statistic and together this group aims to begin to change the industry.

“It’s also about being a force for good in the local area – leaving a lasting legacy and taking responsibility for some of the areas where we can make a difference.

“I cannot think of a more qualified person than Julia to lead this group and I am delighted that she has agreed to share her knowledge and experience in this area with MEPC and its contractors.”

Julia specialises in inspiring young women to join ‘male-dominated’ sectors and has recently authored a book ‘Changed the Game: A leader’s route map to a winning, gender-balanced business’.

She said: “I am very pleased to have been asked by Roz to coach this collaborative network of construction business leaders and HR professionals, who will aim to improve the level of diverse female representation in key operational roles in their companies.

“The challenges they face in terms of attracting, recruiting, promoting and retaining talented women in a predominantly male sector are very similar to those faced by the Automotive 30% Club. So I will share lessons learned and innovative ideas from the automotive sector to overcome these challenges and reap the financial benefits that a better gender balance will bring.

“Together over 12 monthly digital meetings we will create plans to make real progress and implement some key actions this year that will truly change the game in the construction industry with regards to building inclusive cultures and practices on the MEPC construction sites.”

Forkers was appointed to install a substantial new multi-utilities trench at Silverstone Park ahead of MEPC progressing with its ‘Phase 1 & 2’ of development on land that has Enterprise Zone status at the estate.

Director Helena Boyle said: “The first meeting set up by MEPC was very well structured. It has a workshop feel that enables us to take a meaningful look at our own organisations.

“It’s good to see/hear what other people in the group are doing and since joining the group earlier this year we have recruited 2 females in what have previously been male roles in our organisation – a geotechnical engineer and a bid writer, and we have recently interviewed another female for a site manager position.

Forkers’ HR Manager Roisin Robotham added: “Young women need to look at what is really out there and feel confident enough to pursue what they enjoy – not what society says they should do.

“This group means we can communicate different ideas with each other, rather than just reading tips, although it will require everyone to do their bit in order to make a difference.

“It’s also important that, as a group, we pass the message on to clients and our supply chain so it spreads through the construction industry.”

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