Students from Year 9 and 10 at Nidderdale High School during a visit to the Brierley Homes housing development, Millwright Park in Pateley Bridge.
Students from Year 9 and 10 at Nidderdale High School during a visit to the Brierley Homes housing development, Millwright Park in Pateley Bridge

Opportunities for women in construction at forefront of Brierley Homes visit

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In a bid to attract more women into the construction industry, a group of North Yorkshire students have been invited to one of the county’s new housing developments to learn about career opportunities.

Ahead of International Women’s Day (March 8), pupils from Nidderdale High School in Pateley Bridge visited nearby Millwright Park, a development of 20 homes being built by North Yorkshire County Council’s housing development company, Brierley Homes, and its construction partner, The HACS Group.

According to Government statistics, in 2021 women represented just 13 per cent of those employed in construction in the UK – a statistic that Brierley Homes and The HACS Group are working hard to address.

The young people were given a tour of the site and then talked to company representatives and Rachel Steel, Project Manager at Brierley Homes.

Rachel said:

While women remain under-represented in the construction industry, there is progress in addressing this imbalance and Brierley Homes is playing its part in this process.

School visits such as this give us the chance to showcase the opportunities construction offers at a time when these young people are considering their future careers.

Students learnt about the range of careers in the construction industry, apprenticeships and details of college courses including Craven College, York College and the University of Leeds.

County Councillor Derek Bastiman, Executive Member for Growth and Economic Development, said the council is proud of its role in promoting equality.

Derek said:

Initiatives like this are important in helping to address the imbalance in male dominated industries such as construction.

It is important that a wide range of experience and opinions are represented in the workplace, and construction is no different.

As we mark International Women’s Day, we hope the pupils from Nidderdale High School gained a valuable insight into the career opportunities on offer.

One of those pupils, Gracie Hudson, said: “They took us into a two-bedroom house, a three-bedroom house and a four-bedroom house and you saw all the different stages from the plasterboard to the electricians fitting everything in. It was a bit of a head-turner. You think you want to do that, then you go and see it in real life and you are like ‘that’s a really good industry and a job to do’.”

Liz Eglin, Alternative Curriculum Coordinator and Careers Advisor at Nidderdale High School, said:

We were delighted to give our students the opportunity to hear from Brierley Homes and The HACS Group.

It is important that they begin to consider what their role in the workplace might be and visits such as these demonstrate the options that are out there that they might not have thought about up to now.

To give young women, in particular, the chance to be able to see what is available in construction is a really good eye opener for all our young people.

Jacquelin Baker, Training Manager at The HACS Group, said:

We feel privileged and excited to be able to educate young people on the careers available within the construction industry. For young women specifically, we are excited to promote the industry for consideration and support them in finding future roles.

Brierley Homes is part of the Brierley Group, which was established by the County Council in 2017 to bring together council-owned companies with the aim of improving front line services. The group offers services within North Yorkshire and beyond. Other companies in the group are NY Highways, Align Property Partners, First North Law, NYnet, Yorwaste, Veritau, North Yorkshire Education Services and NY Tech.

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