Caption: Andy Carter, apprentice co-ordinator at EE Smith

One of the UK’s leading specialist interior fit-out contractors is among industry leaders offering placements to encourage more women into the construction sector.

EE Smith Contracts, based on the Clarendon Industrial Estate in Leicester, took part in the Women into Construction event held with West London College and the Mayor’s Construction Academy West London along with a host of renowned businesses including Laing O’Rourke, Kier and the Berkeley Group.

The virtual 90-minute session offered women the opportunity to showcase their talents while employers spoke about the potential opportunities available within their companies.

The programme provides the opportunity for currently unemployed women to complete qualifications within the field including the Construction Skills Certification Scheme and traffic management courses.

As a result, EE Smith Contracts has offered two unemployed women with and without a background in construction a two-week placement on one of its sites in London.

The highly-successful company has worked on a number of prestigious international hotels in London – including The Londoner, the Grosvenor House, The Langham and The Savoy – along with commercial buildings and super-prime residences.

Its apprentice co-ordinator Andy Carter said the move was part of EE Smith Contracts’ ethos to give everyone the same opportunities.

“These sorts of programmes are important in attracting women into a sector which has historically been male dominated,” he said.

“Women who move into the industry often find it highly-rewarding and a great way of developing their career.

“It was interesting to hear from women at the online session from a wide range of backgrounds – some who had experience of the construction sector and others who wanted a change of career.

“Covid-19 has given many people the time to think about their goals in life as well as redundancy having meant others have had to seek new opportunities.

“Construction is a diverse and fantastic career and we have the experience at EE Smith Contracts to help women learn new skills on-site and through courses with local colleges.

“I am looking forward to meeting the candidates in person who are starting their placements with us at our Knightsbridge site where we are completing a full fit-out of luxury apartments.

“The variety of opportunities available in the construction is underlined by the fact one person will be learning a trade and the other will be focused on site management and. We really hope these placements will progress into full-time employment with EE Smith Contracts.

“These placements being offered by well-respected companies will help to reduce the skills gap and hopefully encourage more women to consider a career in the sector and change the face of construction.”