Women are being encouraged into the building maintenance sector with a series of free ‘trade’ taster workshops organised by Mears supported by CITB, working in partnership with Construction Youth Trust.The first of these workshops were delivered this week in collaboration with Women into Construction, United Welsh, Celtic Horizons and Nottingham City Homes, to provide a practical, inspiring and safe learning experience for women who wish to ‘have a go’ at a trade before deciding on whether to pursue a career in building maintenance.The taster sessions consisted of practical training work in several trade skills like plumbing, joinery, and painting and decorating led by a qualified trades trainer in a construction skills classroom. The learners were also informed of career opportunities in the Repairs & Maintenance sector and the progression and support systems open to them.Other taster sessions are planned for next year in Manchester, Brighton, and London.Workshop participants provided overwhelming positive feedback, with 9 out of 10 women stating that they would consider a career in the repairs and maintenance sector.One of the attendees said, "All the staff members were so friendly. It was great getting to learn about other women in the trades. Learning new skills makes me feel proud that I have achieved something."Gainor Keeton, Mears Project Manager, said, “With only 1% of construction operatives being female, we are determined to increase the number of tradeswomen across the social housing sector. We also support other organisations to get the message out that there are good careers for women to be had in social housing maintenance.“This is not only the right thing to do but we know that the best workforce is one which reflects the communities in which we serve.”Rebecca Hart, Women in Construction Officer for Nottingham City Homes, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Mears and the Construction Youth Trust to deliver these workshops. Our Women in Construction initiative has made a huge difference here in Nottingham, achieving some fantastic results. In fact this year’s main cohort of building trade apprentices were nearly 50% female - something you would have never thought possible a few years ago. Workshops like this are often just the start, but they make such a difference.”Wendy Heller, Training, Development and Curriculum Manager at Construction Youth Trust commented, “With 9out of 10 women stating they would pursue a career in the repairs and maintenance industry after participating, I believe this is a clear indication that raising awareness of opportunities is key to increasing the number of women in the industry."