We’re encouraging more young women to get into the construction industry by offering more opportunities to join our growing team. Gemma Scarlett, who is 17 and lives in Sheppey Road, has joined us as an apprentice and has already begun work on a refurbishment and regeneration project for the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham. Gemma was recruited in partnership with the Council as part of our work to support local people into employment.

Just one per cent of the UK construction workforce is female. Recruiting Gemma is a part of our access campaign, which runs a range of ‘Women in Construction’ initiatives and a ' Legacy’ programme to improve entry levels into the industry for under-represented groups.

Gemma is a student in her second year at Barking & Dagenham College, where last year she won the ‘Best Construction Student’ award. She will continue to attend college one day each week while training on the job with us.

Gemma said:

For me, construction is an attractive career because I’m a practical, hands-on person and I like to get the job done. The apprenticeship is a great opportunity to gain life skills which every household needs at some point – I’ve already worked on plumbing, plastering, flooring and other refurbishment work. I’m often the only girl in my class and we need more female students to look at construction as an option, especially when finding a job in the area is difficult for people my age.

Corporate Responsibility Manager, Jonathan Brookes, said:

The Group is committed to improving awareness about and access into the industry for women. We were recently part of an award-winning team which brought 20 women into construction training in Hackney and we would love to achieve similar success in Barking and Dagenham. One of the big challenges in the industry is perception. So through our Legacy programme, we’re running courses in schools to show young people that a career in construction is about practical skills and trades, but it’s also about understanding business.

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