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Careers in construction: Borders brings on jobs for the girls

""Young women in the borders gained an exciting insight into a potential career in construction at a major CITB educational event as part of Scottish Apprenticeship Week (6-10 March).

Almost 90 girls aged 14-15 from secondary schools throughout the region attended the Women into Construction event at Borders College on 7 March. The group heard inspiring stories from industry insiders spanning a range of career options, from joinery and painting to architecture and civil engineering.

Christine Grahame, MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, delivered an uplifting talk to the girls. She emphasised the importance of the event in light of the fact that women are still vastly under-represented within the construction industry.

She added: “Of the 4,894 new apprentices that Scotland welcomed into its construction industry last year, only 76 were female – that represents just 1.6%.  We need to work together to change that.”

“The range of work in the construction industry is diverse, from sales and marketing, trades, engineering and architecture. It offers flexibility during a working life which is often overlooked – and in a world where jobs for life is rare.”

Euan Hastie, CITB Apprenticeship Officer, said: “The event helped us talk openly and directly with young women about construction in a fun, interactive and myth-busting style, challenging the outdated stereotypes that the industry is somehow just for boys.

“We conducted a quick straw poll before and after the event. At the beginning, we asked the girls how many of them would consider a career in construction – only two or three raised their hands. At the end, that number increased to about 25. I was delighted to see so many enthusiastic responses. We hope to continue to build on that success throughout Scotland in the future.”

Industry speakers included Gill Henry, Hazel Davies, Lynsey Jackson and 4th year joinery apprentice Adam Sim from Cruden, along with Lindsay Wilson from Edinburgh University and Amy Newlands from Peter Graham and Partners.

The girls also enjoyed a tour of the college’s construction faculties, tried out their virtual digger skills via a 25-tonne, 360 degree plant simulator and took part in a lively Q+A session.

Gill Henry, Head of Business Development at The Cruden Group, said: “Traditionally, construction is seen as a ‘job for the boys’.  Cruden is keen to take a lead role in challenging this perception and was delighted to present an overview of a much wider range of careers in the industry and provide real life insight into roles of senior female staff within the Group.”

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