Leading Glasgow based construction firm, City Building, has increased female participation in its trailblazing further education programme by 66% in the last twelve months.
One of Scotland’s largest construction companies, they offer a range of further education opportunities for staff across the business, from apprenticeship opportunities to HNC and degree level learning.
A focus in encouraging more females into further education whilst working is a key objective of the firm that is an industry leader in equality.
In March 2022, City Building launched its first-ever working group dedicated to boosting female representation within the company.
And already the results of this work is bearing fruits with the apprentice recruitment programme in 2023 having 16% of new starts being women compared with Scotland wide sitting at 2.7% and 8% were minority ethnic compared with 1.6% of the Scottish construction sector.
A shining example of this dual-focus to give its female staff the tools to develop, is Louise Allan, a Customer Liaison Co-ordinator who joined City Building 20 years ago.
During her two decades with the firm, she has undertaken multiple further learning opportunities with the firm, including a HND in Leadership Management and SVQ in Construction Management. Louise recently embarked on a transformative journey by enrolling in the prestigious BA (Hons) in Business Management at Glasgow Caledonian University.
Louise said: “City Building have always been so supportive throughout my journey with them, always. I felt really disengaged at school and didn’t really have an interest in carrying on my studies after I left. I wanted to get stuck into a job and earn money.
“When I was offered the opportunity to earn and learn with City Building it was an easy yes. By this point, I had some practical experience behind me and was able to make a really well informed decision on what I wanted to study and the direction I wanted my career to go in.”
On top of working full time, Louise has balanced her studies with raising a young family. On her ability to juggle her personal and professional life with her education, Louise said: “I’m lucky that if I need time to complete coursework or study, all have to do is ask for it.
“Because so many people go on to pursue further education with the support of City Building, I have a great support system of peers to rely on. I can get advice from people who have previously undertaken the same courses as me and talk through any challenges I face with the coursework.”
Currently, 20% of City Building employees are undertaking further education opportunities with the firm.
The firm offers a wide range of further education opportunities throughout the business, suitable for a range of career paths, including HNC programmes in Business, Building Surveying and Construction Management , BA (Hons) in Business management and Diplomas in Architecture and People Management.
Reflecting on her experience applying to her current course, Lousie added: “The application process was super straight forward – I first heard about the different opportunities at City Building through word of mouth. It’s an ingrained part of the company – I don’t think people realise this it not something other firms offer for their staff.
“I sat down with a member of the learning department, and they were upfront about what the course would entail. I knew it would be a challenge for me, but I also knew that the support was there to make sure that I succeeded.
“Taking part in further education has changed my perceptions of what I think I can achieve. I want to use my degree. I currently work within the customer side of the business, and I want to use my degree to progress and leave a lasting impact on City Building’s customer service delivery.
“My biggest piece of advice to someone looking to go back into education would be to speak to your peers who have done it and get a realistic view of what it takes. I had this preconception that it would take hundreds of hours and eat in to my family time – that’s just not the case.
“City Building has been so supportive throughout this whole experience – they really do see the value in supporting its staff through further education. You need to just go for it. You never know where it might take you.”