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Last updateTue, 24 May 2022 10am

Constructionarium delivers a new blended learning womens programme

This week sees the formal end to Constructionarium’s inaugural Women’s programme. The programme, funded by Norfolk County Council’s Local Investment in Future Talent (LIFT) was aimed at providing a unique opportunity for females who are experiencing difficulty to get into or return to the industry. Steve Longhurst (University of Salford), who facilitated the project with Julia Stevens (Chief Exec), said “An excellent week with outstanding enthusiasm from the delegates.”

The programme kicked off at the beginning of May, with a host of webinars on Project Planning, Risk Assessment, Method Statements, Professional Chartership alongside hearing from some inspirational females from across the Built Environment Sector. Delegate, Sowmiya Aravinthan says “The programme has been such a valuable learning experience! I especially enjoyed meeting industry professionals both onsite and in the webinar sessions.”

The group also had the opportunity to find out more about the biggest challenge the industry is facing – Climate Change and Net Zero, through a presentation by Constructionarium’s Chairman Keith Clarke. Having the opportunity to link this important topic to the programme ensured that the delegates were exposed to similar learning provided to Senior Exec’s across the industry by Constructionarium.   

A week of the programme was designated as a practical intervention, with the group meeting for the first time to undertake the build of a mini version of one of Constructionarium’s projects, Barcelona Tower at its bespoke 19 acre site in Bircham Newton.

This practical week varied from the traditional Constructionarium activities as all delegates had the opportunity to experience all of the tasks - from surveying, setting out, groundworks, form working, steel fixing, concreting and building the super structure. Craig Bond (Site Manager) commentated that it was “Refreshing to experience the enthusiasm of young women towards careers in construction. It enabled delegates to understand the construction sequencing and the job roles linked with a project.”

The practical week also incorporated further webinars and visitors to site to enable the broadest exposure across the careers spectrum available in the sector.

Thanks to the following for their involvement and support throughout the whole of the project – Sharan Gill (TFL), Heather Gallagher (Atlas Copco), Pam Egbochuku (Dragados), Katie Holt (CICES), Michelle Robinson (Canham Consulting and ICE), Lizzie Forbes (Balfour Beatty), Georgia Brinkley (Balfour Beatty), Jennifer McLachlan (Costain).

A strong focus of the programme was to inspire individuals into the industry and expression of interest have been made by a number of the programmes supporters, which is fantastic.

Ayesha Patel reported that “Experiences like these don’t come often, especially for women. The Constructionarium team are changing that by providing learning opportunities for women of all backgrounds. The Women’s Programme has opened my eyes to the different aspects of construction through various on-site activities, webinars and the chance to meet women already in engineering; my role models.”

Julia Stevens, Constructionarium’s Chief Exec said “As Constructionarium is a not for profit, this event would not have been possible without the financial support of Norfolk Council and it is hoped that this will be the first of many initiatives to inspire individuals into Construction. This unique programme provides the opportunity for a group of strangers to become friends and future colleagues across the Build Environment sector whilst gaining some fantastic skills (technical and employability) for their future careers.”

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