Country’s top supported housing provider working to get more women into construction jobs.

Stonham, the country’s largest provider of housing and support for vulnerable people, has produced “Gender on the Agenda”, an interactive CD for the construction industry, full of useful information for managers and HR professionals, to enable them to get more women into this traditionally male-dominated sector.

The construction industry is changing. To improve the diversity of their workforces, companies and industry bodies alike are looking at how their staff recruitment and retention practices can be more accessible to women.

 As Andrea Butler, Stonham Area Business Manager and Equal team lead, said: “Ensuring diversity in your workforce is vital to success. Diversity isn’t a campaign, an initiative or a set of boxes to tick, it’s the way to attract the largest possible number of potential staff or customers. A business that encourages a diverse culture attracts people and helps the organisation perform at its best.”

 According to figures from ConstructionSkills (the Sector Skills Council for construction) women currently represent only 10% of the construction workforce, a figure which has not improved over the last 10 years. In addition, the industry is losing qualified female members of staff, because many can’t get family-friendly working hours from their employers. And many women leave the sector altogether in favour of part-time hours in other industries.

 The Gender on the Agenda CD contains a wealth of information and resources, which will help managers to develop strategies to expand the number of women in their organisation and the range of roles that they do. The CD also has a useful change management section and links to other sources of information, including legislation. And it includes printable pages so you can read more complex sections at your leisure.  There are also video clips of female construction workers talking about their experiences within the industry.

 The CD was produced by staff from Stonham (the country’s largest provider of housing and support for vulnerable and socially excluded people) and SOVA (the leading national volunteer mentoring organisation working in the Criminal Justice System in England and Wales).

 It was funded by Equal, a European Social Fund initiative which tests and promotes new means of combating discrimination and inequalities in the labour market, both for those in work and for those seeking work. This CD is just one example of the ground-breaking work undertaken by Stonham and SOVA under a programme of Women into Work: Building Futures activities to raise awareness about how women are often under represented in sectors more traditionally dominated by men, and how simple changes can help companies attract more women into non-traditional jobs.


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