At Phase 2 of the Sherwood Place project in Ealing for Clarion Housing, the Durkan project team have been working hard to create real social value alongside quality, sustainable homes for local people. A recent initiative has been to support Community Interest Company Women into Construction (WIC), to increase female participation in the industry.
When Durkan approached West London College (WLC) to see how we could help support construction students, Barry Mortimer – Mayor’s Construction Academy lead at the College – put us straight onto WIC. Course leader, Anna Walterskotter was already delivering an Employment Programme targeted at local women looking to return to work or change career direction. Delivered in partnership with WLC, the course offered employment skills support, CSCS training, career mentoring and work placements.
It can be a real challenge for WIC to secure multiple work placements, but these are a vital part of the programme – and often are key to securing job outcomes. So, when WIC reached out to us, Clarion and Durkan were pleased to be able to step in – offering eleven women the chance to experience a placement on a ‘live’ site at Sherwood Close.
Between April and May 2022, nine learners were placed with subcontractors who offered them practical experience of a range of constructions trades. Just as importantly, the trainees got a real insight into how a project is structured, how teams work together to achieve common goals, and practical advice on how to achieve a career in construction.
One learner spent two weeks working with a Durkan design professional – her first chance to put her design-based degree into action. When another learner showed a keen interest in development and sales, Clarion’s Elise John-Lewis stepped in, organising a structured placement for her within Clarion’s private development division Latimer.
We have high hopes of progressing at least some of these women into sustainable jobs – and supporting WIC again in the future. Special thanks to Richard Saunders, Mike George, and Mario Martinis for supporting the programme at short notice. We would also like to thank our brilliant host subcontractors, Orchard plumbing, Wheeler electrical and Falcon Cranes for supporting the women and making them feel so welcome.
‘We are so pleased to have Clarion and Durkan on board with ample opportunities on their Sherwood Close project. After taking part in our speed interview session at West London College, Durkan supported eleven women from Ealing, Hounslow, and Harrow in gaining an understanding of site work and career pathways through work placements. The women particularly enjoyed testing out the trades’ roles with Durkan’s subcontractors. Thank you so much to all everyone and especially Clarion and Durkan!’
Anna Walterskotter Project Manager Women into Construction