Women training course. Picture: T Samuel

Fully-funded workshops and webinars on construction now offered in Nottingham, aim to encourage black women to pursue careers in the industry.

Figures show that only 12% in the trade are women of which 5% are Black Asian Minority Ethnic, according to official statistics from 2019 by trade union for construction workers GMB.

Ms Jasmine Samuels who is thirty-seven and a mother of six, said she struggled for years to get hired as an electrician because of her gender and age.

After years of rejection she offered her skills for free on a trial period, and that is how she was able to secure her current position with Forbes Electrical Services.

Audio: Trainee electrician Ms Jasmine Samuels tells how difficult she found it to get hired.

The Women in construction initiative by Nottingham City Homes (NCH) in collaboration with Nottingham Skills Academy (NSA) was launched five years ago for women from all backgrounds to benefit from the project.

Mrs Abigail Greenwood who is the construction employability officer said women are still underrepresented in the industry, but their project is making a difference in that regard.

Through the Skills Academy, women are being taught to acquire skills in brick-laying, plastering, painting, plumbing, joinery, electrics, gas engineering and decorating to help them get a job in the industry.

NCH offer intensive construction courses for up to six weeks where participants can partake and explore all the different avenues of construction.

A 53-year-old mother with her 17-year-old daughter having a go at block paving. Picture: T Samuel

A recent taster day webinar specifically designed for the women was led by apprentice electrician Ms Natalie Lafond who herself picked up the skills she needed from the project a few years ago and is now an ambassador for black women in construction.

Mrs Greenwood said, “there should be no reason why women do not pursue a career in construction,” because they offer the tools to get them equipped for the trade and the courses are free.

Just one in eight construction workers are women, shock figures reveal.

At the current rate it will take almost 200 years to achieve gender equality in the construction industry according to the GMB report.

Paving expert showing the ladies how it is done.

A handful of black women turned up for the taster day and some of them feel that there are not many opportunities like this to get involved in.

Participant Ms Annette Furuyama has done office work and various other jobs and is hoping to change career and enter the construction field.

Her 17-year-old daughter Sumire who is good at brick laying is taking the course with her.

The construction industry is facing a massive inequality challenge. GMB writes they are committed to building a more diverse workforce that is sustainable for the future. In 2018 the share of women in construction was at 12% and the number of female construction workers recorded at 301,624, bringing the total construction workforce at 2,405,138.

There are an estimated 60,972 more women in the construction industry than there were in 2009 – but as a proportion of the overall workforce the female share of the labour force increased by just 2.1 per cent.

The government fully-funded workshops by NCH and NSA who partner up with recruitment agencies are set to continue to run between two-to-six weeks throughout the year.