Borders College

Constructing a more equal industry

Borders College and CITB (Construction Industry Training Board) recently hosted another successful ‘Women in Construction’ event at the Scottish Borders Campus in Galashiels. The event coincided with the Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2017, which runs from 6-10 March.

The College’s recently appointed Principal, Angela Cox, opened the event, saying: “The Construction industry has never looked as good as it does at the moment – it is a growth area in the Borders and we want to get as many females involved in that as possible.”

Approximately 90 female S3 pupils from high schools across the Borders heard from several key speakers including Gill Henry (Head of Business Development at Cruden Homes East & Hart Builders) and Lindsey Wilson (Maintenance Services Manager at the University of Edinburgh), as well as participating in a timetable of Construction-themed activities, all of which was designed to inspire and enthuse the girls about the Construction workplace.

Activities included;

  • tours of the College Campus, with particular focus on practical Construction areas,
  • problem solving, where the pupils were tasked with building a giant 3D cube from ‘jigsaw’ blocks,
  • the chance to use (a Construction trade job finder website, funded by CITB), and
  • a 25 tonne plant/digger simulator, which they all had a chance to operate

Christine Grahame MSP also addressed the young students: “People are expected to go into certain jobs, but I think what’s great about this day in age is that you can go into whatever it is that you enjoy. Construction offers a range of flexible job roles. I hope that today you come away thinking, ‘I don’t need to do a job that’s expected of me, I can do something that I like’.”

Angela was followed by Gill Henry, who delivered a motivational presentation to the young women detailing her own career in the Construction industry: “My job today is to show you the more interesting parts of Construction. Cruden currently have 53 Apprentices, only 2 of whom are female (a Joiner and a Plumber). As Christine Grahame said, there is a huge gender gap in the industry.”

One such Cruden Apprentice, Adam Sim, who is in the fourth year of his Apprenticeship, was on hand to talk to the pupils about his own positive experience as an Apprentice in a Construction trade. “You’re supported the whole way – CITB are there for you throughout and you spend 13 weeks each year attending College.”

Hazel Davies, Sales & Marketing Director at Cruden Homes East, had her own powerful message for the young women: “I want you to be aware that you can have a career and you can have a family, and there are options available to you in Construction that you may not even be aware of.”

CITB Apprenticeship Officer Euan Hastie, who helps to organise the event, said: “It’s great to see so many female high school pupils here today. We hope we have broadened their horizons and shown them that there’s more to Construction than mud and rain! There are technical jobs available, and education up to degree level is even a possibility.”

So, if all of this has made you think about a career in Construction, or if you know a young female who may be interested in finding out more, visit or § to view the various qualifications and training paths awaiting you.


Published: Wed 8th Mar, 2017