Women into Construction is an independent not-for-profit organisation that promotes gender equality in construction. They provide bespoke support to women wanting to work in the construction industry, and assist contractors to recruit highly motivated, trained women, helping to reduce skills gaps and create a more gender-equal work force.
Berkeley Foundation funds Women into Construction through our Empowering Young Women into Work programme. Over two years, 60 unemployed young women from London and Birmingham will transition from either college or care into careers in construction.
We caught up with Nkechi who went through the programme and is now back as a mentor to help other young women.
How did you get onto the Women into Construction programme?
I worked for CITB as an apprenticeship officer. I had been aware of WiC as they were helping some of my female apprentices get work, as well as supporting them through the training. When I found myself struggling to get work onsite in construction management I got in touch with WiC.
After a few unsuccessful attempts at vacancies they sent I got an email from a WiC contact about an apprenticeship and graduate scheme at Galliard Homes. I applied and got my role as apprentice site manager.
How has the programme supported you in your career and job aspirations?
As well as helping me find my current role, WiC invited me to an awards event where I received a 'freshers' award and met other young women working in or aspiring to work in construction.
Why have you returned as an Alumni supporting young people? How do you think your experience can help other young people in similar situations/with similar backgrounds?
If I have an opportunity to encourage another woman to have a construction or engineering career, then returning as an Alumni will be worth it.
I think finding a job in construction is hard enough for women and even when we eventually do, the treatment on site, and support we get isn't always adequate.
It would be great if WiC can maintain a pool of women with experience - both old and new - to be available to support other women and young girls into the construction or engineering field. That would help and reduce the myth that women onsite or in construction is a rarity and that they can't thrive or become successful in such jobs.
Where do you see yourself in a few years' time?
I'm learning about the stages and the construction process involved in new builds developments.
I would like to understand more about sustainable materials and Modern Methods of Construction, and I'm hoping I'll be given the opportunity to get a good range of experience on various projects.
I would like to progress into a career in construction project management and be involved in the planning and management of projects from start to finish.