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Rail minister backs ‘Women in Construction’ shunting into Crossrail

PUBLISHED: 17:12 23 October 2015

Rail Minister Claire Perry at Crossrail's subterranean construction site [photos: James Jenkins]

Rail Minister Claire Perry at Crossrail's subterranean construction site [photos: James Jenkins]

Crossrail

Rail Minister Claire Perry went deep under ground to meet a new generation of women construction engineers working on London’s massive Crossrail project.

Rail Minister with women construction workers deep under ground at FarringdonRail Minister with women construction workers deep under ground at Farringdon

Her visit was part of a campaign to get more women into construction to help tackle London’s growing transport needs with its fast-expanding population.

She came to see how a new partnership was working between Europe’s largest infrastructure project and the ‘Women into Construction’ organisation that was originally set up for the London 2012 employment strategy.

The not-for-profit organisation aims to recruit women up to professional construction placements.

“This sends a signal that now is the time for women to pursue a career in this growing sector,” the minister said.

“I hope the role models I have met can inspire the next generation of female engineers and construction workers, which can help the infrastructure projects of the future.”

Her visit to the Farringdon construction site yesterday follows the first ‘Women into Construction’ event staged at Crossrail’s Stratford site at Pudding Mill Lane in east London, which led to work placements in Morgan Sindall’s engineering team. More work placements have since been made with other Crossrail contractors including Dragados-Sisk and Alstom-TSO-Costain.

‘Women into Construction’ has now moved its operation into Crossrail’s headquarters in Canary Wharf where office space has been given free.

Crossrail resources director Valerie Todd said: “This is increasing the numbers of women while raising awareness that the construction industry is taking on a more diverse workforce.”

Women now have roles in planning, designing, constructing and maintaining London’s hard-pressed transport network, battling to cater for a population set to hit 10 million in the next 15 years.

The Construction Industry Training Board predicts 220,000 jobs being created in engineering in Britain over the next five years, with women now half the working population—yet only making up 11 per cent of its construction workforce.

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