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Moves to encourage more women into trades

Moves to encourage more women into trades

Mears Group, the leading social housing repairs and maintenance provider in the UK, held its first-ever conference for its tradeswomen on 12-13 November, to explore how to encourage more women into the skilled trades.Mears Executive Director Jane Nelson said: “Mears is determined to recruit and retain a diverse workforce, so to hear the ideas of nearly 40 of our tradeswomen on how we can do that was brilliant. Only 1% of construction operatives are female and we are determined to see a better picture in Mears and to support others in the social housing sector to do the same."“I started 'on the tools' myself many years ago and it's important to get the message out that there are good careers to be had in social housing maintenance.”The Mears delegates – from apprentices to experienced Operations Managers – gathered to help provide insight as well as hear from some inspirational speakers.Kath Moore, Managing Director of Women into Construction, talked about her experience as a tradeswomen having worked in the industry for years.Jenny Conlon from KMF, one of the UK's largest sheet metal manufacturing plants, spoke about her role as Ambassador for the National Apprenticeship Scheme, emphasising the need for more tradeswomen to act as ambassadors to attract more female trade apprentices.The event also reinforced the values and mission of Mears, and covered the Mears' Red Thread concept. Over the two days delegates brain-stormed ideas about recruitment tools needed to bring more women into the industry and how they could move up the promotion ladder. A panel of senior women managers took questions from the audience, which focused mainly around overcoming obstacles and succeeding in the workplace.Another guest speaker, Executive Director of the Construction Youth Trust, Christine Townley, said, “There are still not enough women in the trades industry, and it is vitally important to create a safe space to bring women together where they can speak for themselves and support each other."“The Mears Tradeswomen Conference has been an excellent event, where tradeswomen have been given a voice to bring about change. I have met some very talented young women at the event. It has been great to see that Mears has taken a solid step in this direction, and hope that it is going to be a part of a bigger change.”Zoe Cogle, a Mears Gas Engineer in Leeds, said, “I really enjoyed the conference – it was great to meet so many tradeswomen at the same event, and interesting to know what Mears and other companies are doing to get more women into the industry. I am definitely going to be a Mears ambassador to encourage more women to come into the trades.”

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