Negative publicity around sexual harassment, the Gender Pay Gap and a reputation as a male-dominated industry, run the risk of putting off girls who might otherwise consider a career in property and construction, according to Jo Miller, chief executive of Doncaster Council.
Mrs Miller was speaking at the Women in Property Yorkshire and North East region Student Awards at Platform in Leeds. Industry organisation, Women in Property, knows how important it is to encourage more women into the sector, citing a healthy pipeline of new talent, a flexible working environment and inspirational female role models as critical to this challenge.
Mrs Miller said: “This country urgently needs to ensure it has a really strong property and construction industry so ‘future-proofing’ our talent pool is critical. I applaud Women in Property which runs a number of different initiatives to encourage girls to explore the really rewarding and diverse range of careers available. For example, the Student Awards, now in their 12th year, which inspire built environment students, and engage with universities and employers.
“Through challenging themselves, these young women will explore their own abilities, meet others – women and men – who are already working in the industry, and gain valuable work placement experience, so they will really understand what opportunities are out there for them. This is the first step towards a rewarding future.”
The two winners of the Yorkshire & North East Student Awards 2018 are Choon Yuan Wang from Malaysia studying Architecture at Leeds Beckett University and Halifax-born Katie McManus studying Real Estate at Sheffield Hallam.
Choon said: “This is a wonderful surprise and I look forward to representing Yorkshire and the North East in the national final with Katie. I think it’s fantastic that Women in Property support students in this way; it’s been a hugely rewarding experience.”
Katie said: “I’m so happy to have been awarded this prize, particularly when the competition was so tough. It has been a really interesting process and taught me a lot about myself, the way I interact with others and, in particular, it’s been great to meet women who have shared their experiences.”
Stuart Rich from quantity surveyors Christopher Smith Associates, was on the 2018 judging panel. He said: “We consider the annual national Women in Property competition continues to offer an ideal opportunity for females at the start of their careers in the built environment to showcase their abilities and also share their perspectives on an industry that they have chosen to enter.
“The quality of the presentations from the successful nominees was both interesting and inspiring. It is hoped that the experience for all the candidates was positive. With increasing numbers of females recognising the opportunities that are available, the property and construction industry will surely benefit.’’
There are 14 regional finalists representing their universities and regions from across the UK. They will go forward to the national final on September 18 when they go before a further judging panel. The national winner will be announced at the Best of Best Awards Dinner to be held at Claridge’s, on the night of the 18th.
Women in Property is grateful to its three national sponsors, Bouygues, Linden Homes and Savills and to regional awards sponsor Christopher Smith Associates for their support of these awards.