Balfour Beatty celebrated National Women in Engineering Day (23 June 2014) by highlighting the role that women play in its success.
Women currently make up around 20% of the national construction workforce but Balfour Beatty is making efforts to ensure that more women are represented in the industry.
The company is targeting a 25% share of senior leadership positions being held by women by 2015.
Schools and colleges are also being targeted and Balfour Beatty recently announced its support of the’ Your Life’ campaign, a joint business, government and educator campaign to inspire more young women to study maths and physics in order to secure exciting, successful careers. The Highways Agency is one of its three strategic partners for the campaign and Balfour Beatty is attending a national conference at the Think Tank Museum in Birmingham to identify ways of recruiting and retaining more women within the sector.
Christine Allen, 34, from Kent, is the Contract Director on one of Balfour Beatty’s Highways Agency contracts in the South East. She spent ten years building new infrastructure and the last three years operating and maintaining the Strategic Road Network for the Highways Agency. She leads a team of around 350 staff plus the supply chain who do everything from building new structures to operating tunnels, clearing incidents, being prepared for severe weather and renewing the existing infrastructure
Christine said: “As civil engineers we can make a real difference to society. We get to improve the UK’s infrastructure through building and maintaining the road network – something most of the public take for granted.”
Chelsie Hedges, 20, from London, is a student Mechanical Engineer who is currently working for Balfour Beatty in London (Piccadilly Circus) as well as studying Mechanical Engineering/Project Management in Building Services Engineering at Liverpool John Moores University and the City of Liverpool College, a course sponsored by Balfour Beatty. Chelsie said: “I love the hands-on nature and the involvement of watching a client’s idea evolve from inception to practical completion, and the feeling of being able to say ‘I helped make that’. My advice to other women thinking of joining the industry is not to pay attention to the typical stereotypes because I can honestly say it was the best decision I’ve made and I’m comfortable in this environment and I’ve met some amazing people.”
Nicholas Pollard, Chief Executive Officer, Balfour Beatty Construction Services UK, said: “Celebrating the role that women play in our industry is so important to us as they are our next generation of engineers, project managers and skilled trades people just as much as men. It’s no secret that women continue to be under-represented in our industry and we risk losing a wealth of talent to other industries if we don’t make a career in construction a more attractive proposition to them. At Balfour Beatty we are committed to lead on this and our additional commitments made as part of the ‘Your Life’ campaign are aligned to our broader strategy to strengthen our business by making it truly diverse.”
National Women in Engineering Day was introduced by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) to celebrate its 95th anniversary.