Minister sets sights on constructing women-friendly workplaces

The
Government wants to tackle skills shortages within the building industry by
attracting more women to the sector.

Construction
Minister Brian Wilson wants women to account for 5 per cent of construction
workers by the end of 2005. Currently, women make up just 1 per cent of workers
within the building sector.

The
industry estimates that 380,000 new workers will have to be recruited from both
sexes in the next five years.

Wilson
believes the sector has to look at women to fill part of this gap and address
the macho culture that is currently putting them off joining the sector.

Wilson
said: “If construction sites remain as male enclaves we are going to have great
difficulty meeting the demands of the building boom that is now under
way."

At
the same time the minister is urging firms to recruit more workers from ethnic
minorities, as well as improving health and safety to create a safer, more
pleasant and welcoming environment on building sites.

By Phil Boucher

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