Persimmon Homes

Minister attends Persimmon Academy’s ‘women in construction’ workshop

02 May 2023

Our West Wales region recently hosted an event alongside Welsh Government Minister, Jane Hutt MS, to encourage young girls to consider a career in the construction industry.

Local primary school pupils visited our innovative on-site training academy in Llanilid, Pontyclun. They had the opportunity to meet with female professionals who are thriving in their construction careers, as well as try their hand at different construction skills including bricklaying and carpentry.

The event had a special guest in the form of the Welsh Government’s Minister for Social Justice, Jane Hutt MS, who met with pupils as well as Persimmon female apprentices, all of whom have different backgrounds with different stories to tell about how they’ve become involved in the construction industry.

Commenting on the event, the Minister for Social Justice, Jane Hutt MS said “It’s important we encourage women and girls to consider a career in the construction industry and give them the necessary tools, support and opportunities to do so. It has been fantastic to see female apprentices today showing their carpentry skills to school pupils, so they can be inspired and see first-hand what they can achieve if they put their mind to it.

“Welsh Government provided almost £1.5 million in grant funding in the last financial year to support the delivery of STEM (Science, technology, engineering and mathematics) initiatives, with a strong focus on encouraging girls to consider careers in STEM.”

As one of the nation’s leading housebuilders, Persimmon understands and acknowledges the challenge of getting women into their workforce and want to do all they can to encourage more females into the construction industry. 

Pupils from Dolau Primary School were taught by female apprentices who are currently studying and honing their construction skills through Persimmon’s innovative partnership with Bridgend College. The Year 6 pupils also had the opportunity to hear from other women working within the business in departments such as Land and Planning and Sales. 

Commenting after the event, Persimmon Homes West Wales Sales Director, Sharon Bouhali, said “We were thrilled to host this event at the Persimmon Construction Academy alongside the Minister, Jane Hutt MS, and have the opportunity to inspire the next generation of construction professionals. Successful companies reflect the customers and communities they serve and embrace new ideas and ways of working. While the industry as a whole has slowly been making progress in building a more diverse workforce, we know there's a long way to go.

"We want to ensure that young girls are aware of the incredible opportunities that are available in construction, from architects to engineers, project managers to tradespeople and sales, there is a place for everyone in this dynamic industry. Persimmon firmly believes that by encouraging young girls to consider careers in construction, we can help to create a more diverse and inclusive industry, and build a stronger business for the future." 

The initiative between Persimmon and Bridgend College builds on a successful relationship that has developed between the two organisations over the past five years, and which has created over 150 new job opportunities in construction across South Wales. The Persimmon Construction Academy sees apprentices develop their skills at a bespoke construction and learning facility at the housebuilder’s on-site training facility at their development in Llanilid, Ponytclun. 

Rachel Lewis, Deputy Curriculum Manager for Construction at Bridgend College, added “Women currently only make up around 14% of construction professionals, but that is set to change as misconceptions about gender-specific roles are gradually diminishing. At Bridgend College, the number of female applicants for Construction is on the rise, and we are continuously working to provide a welcoming, inclusive and supportive environment for all our students to be all that they can be." 

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