It’s been a busy winter so far, and it’s going to get even busier.
Since my last blog, I have met more people about taking my Women in construction programme into schools, as well as working with BuildForce UK and Fairness, Inclusion and Respect in Construction.
I’ve been fortunate to go on some excellent training.
HR manager Laura Perry and I attended a Diversity and Inclusion question time session on 28 November, with speakers including Vicky Hayden, head of private sector membership programmes at Stonewall, and Mark Lomas, head of equality, diversity and inclusion at HS2 (see photo).
I am now a trained FIR ambassador, joining account manager Jimmy Callaghan and HR adviser Julie Norris. I attended the Supply Chain Sustainability School FIR training course in Peterborough, where I met Belinda Blake of Highways England. We’re hoping to collaborate on some school engagement programmes. That was followed by a FIR ambassador training workshop on 6 December in Southwark. I’m going to meet the FIR people about promoting the programme next week. I am very pleased that VGC’s corporate plan includes the aim of having everyone at head office do the excellent online FIR training course by the end of 2018.
I’ve continued to build relationships with local schools. I attended a year 13 speed networking event on 29 November.
I spent Thursday 8 February at Beaconsfield High School, meeting year 11 and 12 students who were looking at their career options – and spent a fair amount of time persuading their parents that construction is a career that can take you as far as you want it to, and you most certainly can be a successful woman in construction – look at me!
I also attended a training session for Team London enterprise advisers at City Hall in early December. As an enterprise adviser, I will support schools who want to develop careers training for their students. This complements the work I’m doing with local schools, encouraging students, especially girls, to consider careers in construction. My first school is Bishop Ramsey, where I met Annabel Sobers-Richards, Amanda Murphy (deputy head) and Vandana Chandarana (work experience and careers coordinator).
We have some ambitious plans for 2018, including a careers fair, a parents career briefing, learning for life talks and enrichment days, work experience, and speed networking. I am particularly excited about our plans for a summer project with targeted students.
Labour manager Dan Parkinson and I met Caroline Logan of BuildForce at an Armed Forces Insight day on 27 November, where we spoke to a number of people who were interested in roles in engineering, and put them in touch with the relevant recruiters. (That’s us in the photo above.) I am following up on all our contacts from BuildForce, as well as those people who have applied to be mentored by Dan, Simon Clamp and James Andrews, our BuildForce mentor volunteers.
As well as all the hard work, I did get to do some partying: Laura, and I went to the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) Christmas ball in London, where we had a fabulous evening and met some very interesting people.
My next NAWIC event is an all-day ‘IMPACT’ event which NAWIC is arranging with Girlguiding London South West on Saturday 24 February, Thinking Day. Brownies (aged 7-10) and Guides (aged 10-14) will attend for a day of activities to illustrate the many careers that construction offers.
Women in Construction group
It hasn’t all been outward facing. Just as exciting as all the external work I’ve been doing, is the new Women in Construction group. Our first meeting was on 6 February – 100 years since women got the vote. Ciara’s blog has summarised that meeting: and I’m now planning our follow up celebration event on International Women’s Day (8 March).
I’m also working to put together a team to take part in the Big Rail Diversity challenge on 7 June 2018. I’ll blog more about that later!