A Newcastle building company, WDL builders, has taken an important step in getting more young women to consider a career in construction.
WDL, run by Kenton resident and businessman, Brian Dickinson, has recruited Harriet Hawdon, 22, as an apprentice carpenter. Harriet is the first female staff member employed by the building firm and has to date won local and regional awards at Newcastle College.
Harriet this year won a NCG Skills award for carpentry. She said: ”It was my first time experience on the NCG Skills finals and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Winning felt amazing and I hope to continue my studies with Newcastle College. I shall take this experience with me to further my career in construction.”
” We’re extremely proud of Harriet’s hard work and dedication in the last six months.
WDL is playing an important role in the city in getting more young women to take up an apprenticeship in construction whilst helping to overcome gender stereotyping in a traditionally dominated industry.”
WDL is a recognised Fair Wage employer and has been granted Good Work Pledge status by the North of Tyne Combined authority.
Women in apprenticeships
Although young women account for over half of all apprenticeship starts, only 8% of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) apprenticeships were begun by women in 2022. A report by the Careers and Enterprise Company, Closing the Gender Gap, found that gendered stereotypes still determine the occupational choices of young women. The study of 2,000 young people revealed that women are much more likely to go into care related jobs like nursing or teaching, while men are more likely to opt for IT or engineering type careers. Across the North East there are few women bricklayers and builders.
To breakdown gender stereotypes local MPs, such as Chi Onwurah, are calling on government agencies and employers to do more to encourage women into construction and technology careers.