The FIS Women in fit-out sector has been formed to help bring greater recognition to a crucial part of the construction team and to encourage women to enter the sector.
Its aims are to:
• Raise the profile of women in the industry and highlight their successes.
• Inspire the next generation of women to join the fit-out sector.
• Provide a forum for individuals to come together to meet others in similar roles, to network, share ideas and experience and to develop business relationships.
The forum seeks to address the industry’s appalling record of attracting and employing women. Only 14% of the construction workforce is female and less than 1% are working on building sites, a record which places it behind many other key industries.
It’s often the culture that prevents women from working in this industry or stops woman working up through the ranks, with the sector being very male dominated; particularly by older men. It’s necessary that we introduce more diversity to the sector and address the current demographic imbalance. Ensuring more women are being introduced to the industry is crucial.
The industry is not just about building, it involves lots of technical and specific jobs that are suitable for both sexes. The present situation requires a huge change in mindset, both in the people at the top of organisations and those on site.
At the moment, there are no real good female role models who have made it in the industry. There is also a feeling that for women to fit in and be successful in this industry, they are required to be rougher and more demanding; namely more ‘male-like’.
However, women should be allowed to remain feminine and be themselves, without fear of it jeopardising their careers.
At Worksmart, we are committed to this cause, and have recently taken on our first female apprentice. Briony Aulton has joined the Worksmart family as an apprentice joiner, and we hope she will be the first of many more women picking up the tools and donning a hard hat for Worksmart in the coming years!
We look forward to impacting the sector in a positive manner and supporting more women to achieve their goals within the industry.