A group of 11 women visited The Rise development in Scotswood, Newcastle, to find out about the variety of careers and local employment opportunities available.
New Tyne West Development Company (NTWDC) — a partnership between Newcastle City Council and Keepmoat — which has already delivered over 500 homes on the regeneration project, is working with its construction partner, Keepmoat, to support local people to work in the industry.
Ahead of Women in Construction Week (6th to 12th March), the ladies — who are taking part in a six week WiC Employment programme delivered by Gateshead College as part of its BuildNE project — are benefiting from classroom training in addition to visiting live sites, like The Rise Scotswood.
The course includes three weeks of construction-related and employability training, a two-week practical, hands-on work experience placement, site visits and one to one support sessions. Whilst on placement the students will gain experience of vocational and on-site roles such as document control, project administration, Computer Aided Design (CAD) Technician, site engineer and trade-based trainee positions, including brick laying, joinery and roofing.
Cheryl Spybey, 55 and from Blyth, said: “It is fantastic to see a course like this being offered in the region. Its content is so diverse so has wide appeal regardless of previous work experience. It has certainly made me aware of the variety of roles available and all the teams involved before even the first brick is laid on a site.”
Lee McGray, Director at NTWDC, commented: “We continue to work hard with our partners and supporting organisations to address the skills shortage and encourage young people to consider a career in construction. The industry has evolved over the years and the breadth and depth of vocational, life and transferable skills on offer is impressive.”
Women make up around 13% of the construction workforce on developments*. There are four female employees on site at The Rise.
Geoff Scott, Social Value Manager for Keepmoat North East said: “It is great to be part of the WiC Employment Programme — the first of its kind to be delivered in the North East. We are confident that this initiative will equip all the participants with the knowledge and training to help prepare them for future employment.”
Steve Logan, BuildNE Project Director, added: “Our Women into Construction programme is all about helping women to develop their skills and inspire them to consider a career in construction, so it was great to give the learners their first experience of a working site. We’re excited to see them take their next steps towards employment in this industry.”
Supporting the WiC Employment Programme is Newcastle City Council, North of Tyne Combined Authority, the European Social Fund and construction and engineering employers Keepmoat, Morgan Sindall Infrastructure, Sir Robert McApline, RED, Robertson and Your Homes Newcastle Repairs and Construction Services.
*Statistics taken from Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Header image shows front of image left to right is Geoff Scott, Social Value Manager with Keepmoat North East and Chelsea Kirchner, BuildNE Learner Recruitment and Progression Officer, with students from the course. Far left of picture is Kevin Milburn Apprentice Assistant Manager at Your Homes Newcastle and far right of picture is Dave Carruthers, Multi Skills Tutor at BuildNE.