Recently, Content with Media’s Peter Haddock caught up with Clare Hatton, Director of Operations for Employment and Skills at the West Midlands Combined Authority, at the Flannery Plant Hire Operator Skills Hub.

Funding is currently available for women to enter into the plant sector, and Hatton is determined to help equalise the gap by encouraging more women to join the industry. Following on from the Women in Construction event, hosted by Flannery Plant Hire and Balfour Beatty plc in March in line with International Women’s Day and led by Paul Allman, Director at Flannery Plant Hire, at the Skills Hub, Hatton agreed that there’s further steps the industry needs to take to make this dream a reality:

“We need to do more to attract women into this sector, but we won’t achieve this kind of change or this kind of investment in the region without real partnership. What we see here with Flannery, Balfour Beatty and the associations they have made with some of our funded colleges and training providers is the ability to train people in the jobs we need to get the skills they need.”

“We know that there’s not enough women in the construction industry, and we want to make sure that we start to move that balance and we level up with more women entering into the industry and bringing their expertise into the roles to drive this industry forward.”

When asked about why the West Midlands are at the forefront of doing things differently to encourage more women to join, Hatton thanked the input of the local Mayor and devolution for an increase in budget:

“Thanks to devolution in the West Midlands and our Mayor Andy Street, we have control of the £140m adult education budget. This means we can direct this money to the things that matter and the things that change lives. “It’s all about helping our employers get the best people on site, and finding more Women to join the industry is a big part of that.”

With HS2 in particular expected bringing 175,000 expected new jobs into the area, the opportunity is there for people from all backgrounds in the West Midlands to be able to upskill and choose a career path in construction. If you’d like to find out more about training in this industry, contact the Operator Skills Hub here.

You can see Peter Haddock’s full interview with Clare Hatton here.