17.03.2018

Inspiring the next generation of women in construction

A Liverpool student hoping to pursue a career in construction has taken her learning out of the classroom to work on one of the city’s biggest construction sites, with the support of NWCH Framework partner, Morgan Sindall.

Katie Klaveness, 18, was inspired to embark on her dream job after watching the female-led team of construction workers that built her own school, St Hilda’s Church of England School in Sefton Park, procured through the North West Construction Hub framework. Katie, from Old Swan, was a pupil at St Hilda’s when Morgan Sindall constructed the £15 million school building in 2015. She was motivated to follow a career in construction after seeing the female-led project team in action at the school, headed up by the award-winning project manager Karen Fairhurst. Now studying her A-Levels and hoping to study quantity surveying at university, she has recently undertaken a work placement with Morgan Sindall at the £150m Paddington Village project, helping her to gain valuable experience and support her university applications.

She said: “While Morgan Sindall was building my school, I noticed that there were a lot of women working on the construction site and many of them held senior roles. Karen and the team would often come in to talk to about the construction industry and shared their experiences of working in the sector and that was very inspiring for me. Having the opportunity to do a placement at Paddington Village has been fantastic and this, along with the insights I gained from Karen and the team, has really opened my eyes up to the variety of opportunities for women in construction. It’s been a great experience for me and thanks to Morgan Sindall’s support I now know for definite that this is the career for me.”

The Paddington Village project was also procured through the North West Construction Hub framework and is part of Liverpool City Council’s vision to build on the city’s thriving life science sector, attracting investment, creating knowledge-intensive jobs and cementing the city region as an international destination of significance for the life-science, healthcare and technology industries.

During her placement at Paddington, Katie shadowed quantity surveyor, Chris Jackson, who also worked on the St Hilda’s project. Chris said: “It’s been fantastic to welcome Katie back on site and we’ve been very impressed with her work. It’s great to see that more young women like Katie are considering a career in construction and we’re so pleased to have played a role in enabling her to explore her interest in the industry and gain valuable experience. I’ve been working in the industry for nearly 30 years and during that time I’ve seen some big changes in the number of women entering the industry. There are clear progression pathways for a successful career in construction and it’s key that we’re raising awareness for women about the variety of opportunities available.”

Morgan Sindall also supported Katie with a work placement during the construction of another nWCH project, Merseyside Police’s new £48 million Operational Command Centre (OCC) in Speke. The company recently marked the completion of work on the project with a special handover ceremony attended by Merseyside’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Jane Kennedy.

“It’s a real tribute to our fantastic female-led project team at St Hilda’s that their example has inspired Katie to explore a career in this industry – that’s a legacy to be proud of! Our teams across the UK are passionate about engaging with and supporting young people who wish to explore the industry and the brilliant opportunities available – as such, we offer a really wide range of apprenticeship schemes, graduate programmes and work experience placements. As a company, we’re dedicated to promoting the rich variety of opportunities for women in the industry and the rewarding career prospects it offers. It’s very encouraging to know that the work of our talented female colleagues is leaving such a strong impression on the next generation.”  Barry Roberts, Area Director, Morgan Sindall

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