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Women into Construction move into Crossrail HQ to mend contracting skills gap

Crossrail has re-located the independent organisation Women into Construction to its headquarters in Canary Wharf in an effort to recruit more women into the industry.

Rail minister Claire Perry MP met with the group at Crossrail’s Farringdon station yesterday (22 October) to mark the new partnership.

She said: “The Crossrail partnership with Women into Construction sends a clear signal that now is the perfect time for women to pursue a career in this growing and exciting sector.

“I hope that many of the positive role models I have met today can inspire the next generation of female engineers and construction workers.”

Crossrail Women into Construction 3 c. Crossrail Ltd

Women into Construction was established as part of the London 2012 employment strategy and aims to recruit women into all areas of construction – from entry-level trade roles to professional construction placements.

The not-for-profit organisation is currently funded by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).

With the organisation now settled in the Canary Wharf headquarters, the two bodies will be able to collaborate closely with Crossrail’s employability and education teams in order to enhance and diversify the project’s supply chain. This will also include the job brokerage service, which works in partnership with JobCentre Plus and Young Crossrail.

Dana Skelley, director of asset management for surface transport at Transport for London, said: “Women are playing a huge part in ensuring that London has a transport network that keeps up with the capital’s growth in the next 15 years.

“They are playing a vital role in planning, designing, constructing, maintaining and improving the capital’s transport network, and it is fantastic that the construction and transport industries are joining forces to inspire and encourage the next generation of young women to join the transport industry and help bridge the skills and gender gap.”

Crossrail Women into Construction 2 c. Crossrail Ltd

Crossrail’s first Women into Construction event took place at the Pudding Mill Lane site hosted by Morgan Sindall, one of Crossrail’s main contractors.

During the event, work placements within Morgan Sindall’s engineering, health and safety and commercial teams were secured, as well as placements with other Crossrail principal contractors, such as Dragados-Sisk and Alstom-TSO-Costain.

According to CITB, more than 22,000 construction jobs are set to be created over the next five years, but women – who make up half of the UK’s working population – only represent 11% of the construction workforce. Recruiting more women into the industry is therefore a key part of reducing this skills gap.

Valerie Todd, Crossrail’s talent and resources director, said: “Crossrail is committed to doing all we can to make construction an exciting and attractive career option for women. This partnership is not only increasing the numbers of women working on the Crossrail build, but is helping to further raise awareness of the benefits to be gained by the industry taking on a more diverse workforce.”

But the female employment boost in London’s biggest infrastructure project also forms part of a wider effort to increase the deliverability of this pipeline in general, especially with the capital’s population estimated to grow to 10 million by 2030.

(All images c. Crossrail Ltd)


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