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Women in the UK’s construction industry remain underrepresented across all levels despite the shortage of skilled labour in the sector. The number of women starting apprenticeships in construction and the built environment follows the same trend with only 260 females apprentices (3%) compared with more than 20,000 males. West London College is blazing a trail by encouraging women to take up apprenticeships in construction as part of a series of national events taking place this week.

Data from the Office for National Statistics show the construction industry contributed 2.3 million jobs to the UK’s workforce in 2017, of which only 296,000 are filled by women. The gender pay gap is also significant in the industry with women earning 22% less than men.

With uncertainty around Brexit and a skills gap in the construction industry, the need remains to create a diverse and inclusive work environment to draw from untapped talent pools to ensure the sustainability of the industry.

West London College is committed to driving change and is supporting Women in Construction Week to improve the perception of the sector from an inflexible and primarily male-dominated industry to one that can offer well-paid employment opportunities with a clearly defined strategy for career development regardless of gender.

Samantha Smith, Construction apprentice at West London College and Apprentice of the Year winner, is using her experience to encourage more women to study and work in the industry, she said:

“Construction is still seen as a man’s world but I am very determined to do well in my chosen career and hope to encourage more women to study and work in the trade.

“I enrolled on a Construction course at West London College to learn the skills I needed and I haven’t looked back since. I believed that if I could do it; anyone can do it.”

As part of the week and in celebration of National Apprenticeships Week the College will be providing women with the opportunity to find out more about the UK’s construction industry and how they can build a successful career at the Blazing a Trail: Build Your Career event at West London Construction Academy on Thursday, 7 March 2019 from 12pm to 3pm. To book a place visit www.wlc.ac.uk/events/build-your-career 

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West London College offers a range of Construction courses, including Bricklaying, Plastering, Dry Lining, Interior Systems, Carpentry & Joinery, and Electrical Installation with dedicated employer focused resources and apprenticeship opportunities at our specialist sites, West London Construction Academy and Park Royal College. To find out more visit www.wlc.ac.uk/courses/construction