Helen Heward, Associate Planning Consultant at Planning House, was delighted to be involved in a ‘Design and Build Challenge’ at Hartlepool College organised by the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) on Thursday 21st March.
NAWIC is an international organisation of women working within the construction industry which seeks to promote diversity and equality across the construction industry by organising events where members can meet and build relationships with other professionals in the industry.
The event was attended by Year 9 girls from schools across Hartlepool to highlight the opportunities available for girls within the construction industry and the wide range of courses available at Hartlepool College to support future careers.
The morning started with an introduction from John Cartwright, Head of Construction and Built Environment at the college followed by a short presentation from each of the women who had volunteered to assist with the morning. Speakers ranged from builders, joiners, electrical engineers, quantity surveyors and planners to an anthropologist who is studying the construction industry for an upcoming book.
Angela Carney who organised the event and is Head of Carney Construction was keen to impress upon the girls that women in the construction industry are massively under represented and they are as capable as men, so the construction industry should be viewed as an opportunity for the girls in the future.
Each speaker then assisted a table of girls with the design challenge which was to design a school or college building and build it out of Lego. Each design had to be fully costed, to a tight budget, include an element of fun and incorporate some form of renewable energy generation. The girls then presented the end product to the room and a vote was taken to decide the winning team.
Whilst team ‘Planning House’ didn’t win there were some fantastic design ideas including a forest school element to keep cost down and integrate the building into its environment.
To finish the event there was a question and answer session with the panel of speakers. Questions included what education speakers had undertaken, whether they liked their job and how much they got paid! The girls seemed genuinely surprised at the wide range of opportunities available to them and commented that the speakers “didn’t look how they expected women in the construction industry to look”.
It was a very positive event and Planning House were proud to support the event which encouraged girls to consider future careers in the industry and promoted gender equality and diversity across the construction industry.