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Women into Construction: our experience

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, we are delighted to share the news that EKFB has become a Gold Member of Women in Construction (WiC).

WiC promotes gender equality in the construction industry by providing bespoke support to women with the aim of reducing skills gaps. WiC also organises various programs and events to further these objectives, supported by industry partners, local councils, and training organisations.

This membership underscores our commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion in our organisation and the wider construction industry. By providing valuable resources including training programs and networking events, it will help in influencing positive change towards gender equality within EKFB and throughout the construction industry.

Read on to hear from two of our C23 members whose careers have been positively shaped by their involvement with Women into Construction. Their experiences will give you a first-hand account on how this proactive initiative can pave the way for success for women in the industry.

Kennedy Wheeler, Apprentice Civil Engineer

Women into Construction have played a fundamental role in helping me to find a career in construction.

After I completed my A-levels, I chose to take a year out to have a break from academia, gain some work experience and go travelling. I’d completed 2 work placements at school, but I didn’t know if Civil Engineering was the right career path for me.

When I was looking for roles and opportunities in various engineering sectors, I met a contact from Women into Construction at a careers fair in Birmingham. She introduced me to the 3-week programme they offered which ended up being exactly what I needed to finalise my decision and pursue a career in civil engineering.

I spent the first week attending various workshops, training sessions, and gaining my CSCS card. The other two weeks were spent on site (for the first time!) working on the Oldbury Viaduct Scheme where I gained an insight into various roles within the industry and the day-to-day life of a civil engineer from the perspective of a contractor.

I took much more away from the three weeks than I had anticipated. The experience improved my self-awareness with regards to my skillset and how to present myself to be as employable as possible. It massively improved my confidence when applying for schemes and was a great chance to meet other women exploring options in construction from all from different backgrounds and circumstances.

At the end of the placement I left with a small network, growing self-confidence and clear plan for my next steps post school. I was fortunate enough to be awarded Most Improved Woman in Construction (West Midlands) at their annual awards ceremony shortly after starting work at EKFB which was a great day to celebrate the achievements of all the women who had taken part on the scheme.

I am massively grateful for the experience Women into Construction offered me and am certain it played a huge role in securing my apprenticeship with Kier. As I come to the end of my university studies this year, it is exciting to see how far I have come from then and I’m really excited to see EKFB become a Gold Member of the WiC team so we can offer even more opportunities for women looking to join the industry!

Georgia Williams, Head of Communications

I graduated from Leeds University in 2017 with a master’s in film, Photography and Media and whilst I knew I wanted to do a communications-based role, I wasn’t sure what to do next. I was put in touch with a contact at the charity Women into Construction in 2017 after I’d completed an employability course in Birmingham after graduating. I was told about a potential work placement opportunity with a construction company in Birmingham called ‘CEK’.

I went to an interview which I thought went well, but then a couple of weeks later the ‘C’ in CEK – which was Carillion! – had gone into administration. Throughout this uncertain period, my contact at WiC stayed in touch and provided updates, and eventually was able to offer me another placement with CEK, this time to help with a rebrand to what would be ‘Eiffage Kier’, the JV’s name before ‘EKFB’.

A few days later I arrived at the doors of 19 Cornwall Street, Birmingham and was thrown headfirst into the deep end, assisting with anything thrown at me, all the time with regular check ups and support from WiC.

Once my placement was completed, I was offered a full-time role, and I haven’t looked back since. Without WiC I would definitely not be Head of Communications for EKFB today, meaning I wouldn’t have gained all the amazing and varied experience that the role brings. I most likely would never have discovered the wonderful world of construction either, so I’m excited to see how we can work with WiC to inspire the next generation of women in construction!

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