Hundreds of female job seekers looking for new opportunities in the construction industry have been given expert advice and support at a specialised job fair organised by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).
With women making up only one in ten of the total construction workforce and just one in 100 of frontline workers, the WMCA is looking to fill that gap by issuing a rallying cry to boost numbers within the industry.
The jobs fair took place at the Mander Community Hub in Wolverhampton yesterday (October 27) and was organised by the WMCA through the Find Your Future job skills academy.
Attendees from across the West Midlands were able to learn more about job opportunities that are available for women and had a unique chance to speak to a collection of employers and training providers to help them learn how to land their ideal role.
Local construction businesses that attended the event included Balfour Beatty, John Sisk & Son Limited, Winvic, VGC Group, and Construction Wise Consultancy, with Nation Careers Service, City of Wolverhampton College, Wolves at Work, and Black Country Impact also alongside offering further support.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, said: “The construction sector is a major employer in the West Midlands, with tens of thousands more jobs set to be created in the coming years. But it is no secret that the sector is male-dominated, with a real lack of women deciding to pursue a career in construction – despite the opportunities that are available.
“That’s why I am so pleased the WMCA has hosted this event, as we look to help people back into work as part of my 100,000 jobs plan, and ensure more women step forward and take advantage of the brilliant jobs and careers that are on offer.”
The WMCA is currently increasing the number of apprenticeships in the West Midlands through the Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Fund, which enables large employers to pledge their unspent levy to fund the training of apprentices at local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Over £21m has been pledged and to date 2,023 apprentices at 684 SMEs have benefited from the fund over the past two years.
Cllr Ian Brookfield, leader of City of Wolverhampton Council, said: “As we recover from the impact of Covid-19, we must look to these growth sectors across the West Midlands that will generate more jobs and improve the overall economic outlook.
“I believe that it is vitally important that we give women access to these new opportunities within the construction industry through targeted and sustainable support. It is great to see businesses and training providers within Wolverhampton getting involved to boost those numbers and help local people find suitable employment.”
The WMCA is also funding a wide range of free training courses for people looking to enter the construction sector. The scheme directly links into employers with guaranteed job interviews at the end of the course. All courses guarantee a CSCS card as a minimum but can also include specific site and competence cards and tickets for various roles within the sector.
For more information, please visit https://beta.wmca.org.uk/what-we-do/productivity-and-skills/construction/?_ga=2.255649288.1066836361.1635153296-1110913732.1634557890