A woman’s place is no longer in the home – nowadays she’s just as likely to be building it.
That was the message from Lovell to students from St Anne’s Catholic High School for Girls in Enfield during a tour of the company’s £48 million Electric Quarter development in Ponders End which took place in partnership with the London Borough of Enfield.
The young visitors met women with successful construction careers as they took a close-up look at progress on the Electric Quarter, a major regeneration development transforming the area with 167 energy-efficient homes, a brand-new high street home for Ponders End library as well as new shops.
A dozen students aged 14 to 17 went behind the scenes on site, finding out about the construction process and the wide range of career opportunities for women.
“Eye-opening! Lovell opened doors for me I never knew existed and inspired me to follow in the footsteps of the women who work for Lovell,” says student Lubna Taraki, Year 10, at St Anne’s Catholic High School for Girls. “Every girl should get the amazing experience we received on our recent visit to the Electric Quarter development and our first introduction to the field of construction. Mr Cowley and all the team made us very welcome. Thank you.”
“The morning taught me that the glass ceilings are non-existent if you were to work at Lovell,” says student Kasey Oxide, Year 12, at St Anne’s Catholic High School for Girls. “Women were undertaking roles normally perceived as being male-dominated. It made me realise there are no boundaries. The morning also made me realise that once I have finished my A levels, there could be a different route to achieving my dream of becoming an architect. I felt very inspired. Thank you everyone for making it such a brilliant day and making us so welcome.”
“The idea that construction is a man’s world still persists – and is partly why women remain under-represented in the industry as a whole,” says Lovell regional training advisor Sophia Bruce. Office for National Statistics figures point to women making up just 12.8 per cent of the total national construction workforce.
“Another factor is that construction hasn’t been properly promoted to girls and young women, particularly in schools. That’s why it’s so important that we reach out to female students through this kind of event.
“The visit to the Electric Quarter was all about showing the St Anne’s students that construction can offer a hugely creative and rewarding career, by giving them the chance to meet women successfully working in our business. A lot of people are put off because they think it’s just about manual trades like bricklaying and carpentry; although those jobs are very important, there’s obviously a lot more involved in planning and building homes. It takes a huge number of skilled, creative people with openings for designers, project managers, architects, quantity surveyors, legal teams and sales and marketing professionals.”
During their visit, the St Anne’s students met representatives from Lovell’s operations, business development, training and quantity surveying teams, as well as a woman architect. Lovell assistant surveyor Priya Halai – who regularly inspires young people in her role as an official construction ambassador for national training organisation CITB – told students about her own career progression after joining the Lovell graduate programme. She says: “I went into construction because I had a passion for maths but didn’t want to sit behind a computer. I love being able to go on site and see the structures going up and how everything fits together. We are creating something permanent, that’s what I love and I’m passionate about bringing more women into the business.”
Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration & Business, Cllr Alan Sitkin, comments: “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.
“Enfield Council has ambitious plans for Ponders End, to create a vibrant and attractive place to live and work. I hope that the young women who attended this event may one day be the very people helping us to achieve that aim.”
Lovell now plans to organise further site visits for students at St Anne’s as the Electric Quarter progresses through its ongoing campaign to encourage more girls and young women to consider construction careers.