I read with interest your article entitled “Construction: No place for women!” (10 June, page 28), which debated the relative aspirations of women to enter the construction industry alongside the employers desire to recruit females in the workplace.
As the surveying industry charity dealing with entry-level training, we have found that a large part of the problem lies in the lack of awareness specifically for the particulars of careers on offer. As an organisation dealing solely with surveying it would be difficult for us to comment on the construction industry as a whole. Just focusing in on surveying, however, we have found that when visiting girls’ schools a common response to “What career are you thinking of?” is “Hairdressing”. Spend half an hour with them, however, and let a female chartered surveyor explain the benefits of the profession and when asked that question again half the room registers an interest.
Of course (as the article relays) most young females walking down Oxford Street when asked if they want a job in construction will say no because the image of the industry is still one of hard hats and wolf whistles. Again, if they understood and the career opportunities I’m sure the response would be quite different.
I think attitudes of both young people and employers are changing for the better and perhaps a more coordinated and detailed approach from member and charity organisations, employers and government bodies would improve that further still.
Claire Nowell, Chartered Surveyors Training Trust