Berkeley, West London College (WLC) and Women Into Construction (WIC) teamed up this summer to offer women an opportunity to kick start a career in construction by hosting a four-week training programme at the West London Construction Academy (WLCA), located on Berkeley’s Southall Waterside development.
The programme provided an insight into the vast career options available within the construction industry and provided invaluable hands-on experience through a two-week work placement.
As part of the programme, there were CV writing workshops and interactive sessions to develop interview skills. To prepare and help the participants become work-ready, the attendees also completed the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) – an essential qualification for working in the sector – as well as a NCFE Certificate Level 1 in employability skills. Women were also provided support for returning to work, with advice on childcare, benefits and tax credits.
Angela Ramsay, aged 43 from Southall, took part in the scheme and tried her hand at plumbing with firm H2O, where she has since been offered a job. She said: “I worked in retail for 14 years before taking part in the Women Into Construction programme. If you had told me six months ago that I would be working in construction, I would have laughed – construction seemed male dominated so I didn’t think there would be a role for me. But I just thought ‘why not?’ and now I’m so glad that I decided to go on the course. The programme has helped boost my confidence and I would recommend it to anyone – I am now in a job where I do something different every day and everyone is really friendly!”
Sherileen Lambert, Lead Employability Tutor at WLC, said: 'It has been an absolute honour to be the lead Employability Trainer for this programme and I have enjoyed supporting the women through their journey. At first hand, I have witnessed how some of the students with little confidence to begin with have come out on the other side feeling that they have made huge personal gains in terms of building their self-esteem and striving for new aspirations.”
Kath Moore MBE, Managing Director at Women Into Construction, said: “With a two week course and two week placement, we’ve provided women, such as Angela, with vital qualifications and employability skills to return to work or kick start their career in construction, with some participants being offered jobs immediately after the programme. The construction industry is facing a workforce shortage, especially among women, so we’re looking forward to running more of these courses with Berkeley and West London College and getting more women working in the construction industry. Interested women can find out more by visiting our website: www.women-into-construction.org.”
The WLCA is based at Southall Waterside and is run in partnership by Berkeley and West London College. The new term begins on 9 September and the WLCA is still accepting applications. Applicants can start courses after this date and extra support will be provided from WLC. To find out more, visit the WLCA website: https://www.wlc.ac.uk/contact-us/wlca.
Damian Leydon, Operations Director at Berkeley West Thames, said: “The West London Construction Academy is a great place to begin a career in construction, giving students the opportunity to immerse themselves and get to grips with a live construction site at Southall Waterside.
“We’re still accepting applications for the new term at the Academy, so I’d encourage anyone – from school leavers to adults looking for a fresh start – to consider a career in construction and do what Angela did and just give it a go!”