£10m government initiative aims to get women jobs in male-dominated industries

Employers in male-dominated industries are being encouraged to take part in a £10m government initiative that aims to boost the representation of women in the workforce.

Five Sector Skills Councils are spearheading the Women and Work project which includes personal development programmes, managerial training, mentoring schemes and bursaries for technical qualifications.

The two-year initiative, led by the Sector Skills Development Agency (SSDA), is targeting employers in the construction, environmental, food and drink manufacturing, and logistics sectors.

Fiona Mortimer, women and work project manager at the SSDA, told Personnel Today: “The main benefits for employers are a better skilled and more diverse workforce. We hope to start a culture of change in the male-dominated sectors and get them to take diversity more seriously.”

The programme aims to help up to 10,000 women find a new career or progress in their current roles.

Rebecca Jenkins, sales director at logistics firm Wincanton, which is taking part in the project, said she hoped it would make the working environment more appealing to women.

“The industry is moving in the right direction and I expect the climate for women to improve year on year,” she said.

The initiative follows the government’s Women and Work Commission report, published in March this year, which estimated that increasing women’s participation in the labour market could generate between £15-23bn for the UK economy.

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