Story - 08.03.2024

Laying the Foundations for Women in Construction

Working at Bellway

Women make up just 16% of the construction workforce in England. In our latest blog, we explore the unique challenges faced by women in the construction industry and discuss proactive measures that can be taken to break down the barriers they meet.

Construction is seen as very physical work and something that remains to this day a male-dominated industry. At Bellway, we’re proud that we represent a diverse workforce and offer opportunities for everyone to progress — regardless of their gender, sexuality, race, or background.

Here are 5 ways that we’re breaking down barriers and laying the foundations for women to have successful and rewarding careers in construction.

#1 Educating the next generation of women

As an industry, we need to educate women and girls about the opportunities available to them as early as possible. For several years, we've been out there, working with educational institutions and local communities to change the perception of the construction sector. Our goal is clear: to transform it from a traditionally male-dominated field to one that is welcoming and accessible to all, specifically in senior leadership and site-based roles.

#2 Effective partnerships

Women into Construction is a not-for-profit organisation with over 15 years of experience. It’s dedicated to its mission of getting women into the industry in an array of diverse and interesting roles.

The organisation engages with women up and down the UK, through a variety of routes. They visit schools, colleges, businesses, and trade fairs, highlighting the potential career paths traditionally considered unsuitable for female employees. Women into Construction seek out great talent to enter the industry, whatever their background, and help find roles that suit people best.

At Bellway, we’re proud to be one of nine major house builders to have partnered with Women into Construction (WiC) and the Home Builders Federation (HBF). Alongside our partners, we’ve developed a bespoke programme designed to attract and recruit women into the industry.

We’re committed to having at least 5% of our workforce employed in ‘earn and learn’ roles, including apprenticeships, student placements, and graduate roles.

#3 Role modelling women in construction

Our incredible women are breaking down the barriers that are often associated with the industry. Meet Tracey Brady, Managing Director of the Scotland East Division, and Charlie Devlin, a Trainee Assistant Site Manager from Livingston.

Tracey Brady has a wealth of industry know-how. She’s been overseeing projects with Bellway since 2010, but her career in housing spans further than that. Before the move to Livingston in Scotland, Tracey was based in North East England.

“I've been a managing director in house building for 19 years. We build homes, and our end user is everyone. All our team, no matter who they are, play their part in the design and building of each home. We value the men that make up our highly skilled group, but it's by no means a purely male environment.” – Tracey Brady

You can hear more from Tracey and other guest speakers who shared their thoughts in our latest episode of the Bricking It podcast, dedicated to Women into Construction, available now on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and Google Podcasts

Charlie Devlin is a 29-year-old Trainee Assistant Site Manager in Bellway's Scotland East division. Previously an outdoor instructor, she switched to construction embarking on an apprenticeship in 2022. In 2023 she was a runner-up in the national Apprentice of the Year Awards.

“I’ve learnt so many transferrable skills and there are so many opportunities to explore here at Bellway. It’s the best career move I’ve ever made.” – Charlie Devlin

These women are not just part of our workforce; they are leading the way, inspiring a new generation to redefine the future of construction.

#4 Bringing in the next generation

Construction is for EVERYONE, and women and girls should know what their career options are as early as possible. That’s why we partner with schools to educate and inspire girls on careers in construction. Our outreach programme includes interactive talks and site visits, granting young women hands-on experiences and a glimpse into their potential future careers.

To give them a head start, we’ve created a Building the Future careers hub. It provides a glimpse into the world of Bellway Homes, our values, and our culture, along with practical advice and tips on the application and recruitment process.

Find out more and discover how we’re Building the future with Bellway.

#5 Challenging perceptions

Construction is a multi-skilled environment that offers a breadth of opportunities. Raising awareness about the role of women in this sector is crucial as we work to dismantle the "boy’s club" mentality. It's about time we challenged individual perceptions and redefined the industry.

Social media has a significant role to play, and a glance at LinkedIn can be telling. For instance, when construction companies showcase their sites in progress, the imagery predominantly features men in key roles. This representation can unintentionally signal to female professionals that the industry is a male-only zone, potentially discouraging them from seeing a future in construction. It’s a visual narrative that needs to change to reflect the diverse and inclusive reality of modern construction careers.

At Bellway, we’re committed to being a viable career choice for women — not just as a school leaver, but also for people considering a change of role, or those women returning to the workplace. We want to be an employer of choice, and in the vanguard for positive change.

So, what are you waiting for?

Visit our careers page to check out our live vacancies.

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