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Women in Construction Week: New forum supports women in trades

A new Mears Group initiative is leading the way in supporting female colleagues in frontline trades roles.
A new Mears Group initiative is leading the way in supporting female colleagues in frontline trades roles.

The Women's Operative Support Network (WOSN) meets quarterly with the aim of supporting female colleagues as well as planning initiatives that will empower more women to consider choosing a career in trades.

The group is chaired by Multi-skilled Operative Katie Quinlivan, who is based at Tower Hamlets branch. Katie joined Mears nine years ago as an apprentice, and now works on the local authority’s Home Decoration Scheme (HDS) which offers redecoration services to tenants aged over 65 or who are registered disabled.

Katie said:

A desk job was never for me as I’ve always been quite practical, so I felt really comfortable pursuing that. One of the things I enjoy most about working on the HDS is how just a lick of paint in someone’s home can make all the difference to them. It might only be decorating, but it can often feel as if we’re transforming their life as well as their home.

Katie’s work as Chair has already seen a change to the process around ordering female uniforms with more ideas in the pipeline. She’s also been undertaking branch visits, spending time with female apprentices and developing plans for secondment opportunities.

WOSN is committed to helping change the mindset around women in trades. Both the sector and Mears has come such a long way in championing equality in the industry, but there’s still plenty more to achieve. I’m looking forward to seeing how the group evolves over the coming months.
Hema Nar, Mears Employee Director, added:

Establishing the Women's Operative Support Network strengthens our ambition to create a more diverse and innovative workforce. As Chair of WOSN, Katie embodies how empowering female operatives will further help break down barriers and inspire others to follow in their footsteps. A huge thank you to Katie for leading the network and I look forward to hearing about its achievements.

To find out more about a career in trades with Mears Group, visit Mears Careers