07 / 03 / 2022

This week (6-12 March) is an important week for women and their careers in construction.

With three significant awareness initiatives taking place - International Women’s Day (8th March), National Careers Week and Women In Construction Week – the focus on women’s roles, opportunities and achieving gender equality in the workplace will be truly amplified.

Improving gender equality, diversity and inclusivity is something we are working hard towards.  It underpins our entire culture and we are proud to have more women working in our business than the industry average (14%).

Almost a third (29%) of our workforce is female and whilst we have not yet hit our 50/50 target, the attraction and cultural initiatives we have in place are most definitely driving us towards total gender equality. 

Across every region of our business, we have a team of Fairness, Inclusion and Respect (FIR) officers who embody our FIR values and challenge non inclusive behaviour to ensure that our open and equal culture exists across Lovell.  Officers are actively involved in enhancing and implementing our cultural calendar and receive regular training to ensure that diversity is alive throughout the business.  They are also responsible for raising the profile of any issues that may exist, so we can put a stop to negative behaviour immediately.  

In addition to ensuring our culture remains fair and inclusive, a great deal of work is also being done to attract, recruit and train more women to apply for roles within Lovell, and the wider industry.

Sasha Bainbridge, Regional Partnership Director for Lovell Partnerships in East Anglia has been working with Morgan Sindall Construction colleague Helen Clements and Women Into Construction on a pilot programme in Norfolk designed to support women to find employment within the industry. They lined up partners from East Coast College, Clarion Housing Group’s ‘Clarion Futures’, Hays Recruitment (through the Morgan Sindall Labour Desk), Sizewell C and the Department of Work & Pensions (through Job Centre Plus) to offer work placements and potential job opportunities to women on a fantastic range of projects in the area. Women Into Construction managed the pilot project across three cohorts of attendees and co-ordinated between the sponsors and support organisations.

With 37 women participating in a series of mentoring circles, work-ready training, work placements, site tours and training for taking the CSCS card test, as well as extensive one-to-one mentoring, this group of women are now in a fantastic position to be able to confidently apply for a role in construction.  The pilot has been a real success, with 11 of the original cohort now enjoying a permanent construction job.  Sasha Bainbridge comments: “We were absolutely delighted with the response to the pilot programme – to think, 37 women now have the confidence and the skills to jump start their construction career is a fantastic outcome.  And the fact that 11 of that initial cohort have now started on their construction journey is testament to the ‘real world’ construction skills the scheme has delivered.” 

Working with Women Into Construction and others, Lovell is firmly committed to recruiting increasing numbers of women, especially in trainee site manager roles (trainee or graduate level) to accelerate development onto the Site Manager Development Programme.  Sasha concludes with this comment: “For every woman starting a career in construction they are breaking down barriers for the next woman that sees a future in our incredible industry.  We have a long way to go to achieve full gender equal, but as this pilot has shown, we can make a positive impact if we take real action.”