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Setting Up A Positive Action Scheme


Help! I've been tasked with setting up a positive action scheme to attract women into construction apprenticeships.

I have no experience of this and am looking for hints, tips, advice and any documents / policies people are willing to share.

1. Is it fair to reduce the entry requirements for this group, and, how can this be justified

2. Do we have to state the legislation under which the PA scheme has been set, or, can we simply quote statistics - currently 93% male!

3. Is anybody aware of any funding I may be able to tap into to help support the project?


Ian Stone

5 Responses

  1. Positive Action
    The Equal Opportunities Commission have just completed a formal investigation into modern apprenticeships etc.There are case studies around positive action etc

    Do visit their website


  2. Some suggestions for setting up a positive action scheme
    Good luck Ian with this interesting and exciting challenge.

    I would do the following (if you haven’t already):

    1. Contact your local learning skills council to see when the construction skills academy is due to open. I understand that Bovis Lend Lease are working with them to develop a skills academy for this sector. They may be able to help with regards funding, advice.

    2. Build partnerships with local schools, colleges, universities, etc so as to visit these places and entice young women into this sector. This works well if you are able to send along a female worker, who will then potentially act as a positive role model to the students.

    3. Consider ways in which to overcome barriers for women entering this (and other) industries. A key barrier is caring responsibilities, whether for a child, elderly parent, etc. Offering flexible working arrangements, such as part-time working, term-time working, etc will enable women to juggle work and home more effectively and make entrance into this sector feasible/attractive. NB You don’t want to alienate your other staff, so any flexible working policy should be offered to them, too.

    4. If you can offer flexible working, consider advertising vacancies, highlighting these benefits in womens’ magazines. Various Police Forces have taken this strategy with success. Of course, this is all dependent on your budget!

    I hope this is of some help and wish you much luck.

  3. it pays to advertise..
    All the suggestions below look excellent. But when you’ve done all this, got all your funding, please remember you do have to ATTRACT women in – which means you have to advertise in the right places, in the right way and with the right images. AS mentioned, you may want to consider a local (or even national) PR programme to talk about the benefits for women of working in this environment and identify case studies/role models.

    Once you have attracted your cohort of women into the construction industry, you’ll have to keep them – which may be a harder task. Is your current workforce likely to help you? Or will they hinder you? Are they expecting an influx of women and how will they react?

  4. Might be able to help
    If you would like to email me I can let you know what we are doing in Dorset to attract Women into Construction.



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