The Scottish Government’s Lorna Slater has spoken about the need for more women to go into the construction industry to build greener homes for the future.
The Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity was interviewed on SELECT’s YouTube channel to coincide with Earth Day. She was speaking to Fiona Harper, Director of Employment and Skills at SELECT.
Lorna Slater said:
“When I was considering engineering as a career, the main pathways into it were maths and physics, both subjects in which girls are historically under-represented, so we have to make these subjects more accessible to young women.
“By the time I started working, it was really normal for me to be the only woman in the room, and I guess I got used to that – but we shouldn’t. We shouldn’t allow that to be normal.
“We need to proactively tell girls what great careers they can have in the emergent industries. So we have to go out, encourage them, find out what the barriers are and then try to knock them down to get women in and encourage them to stay.”
“There are few role models and, where women are doing these jobs, it is important that we share that information as widely as possible.
“Figures show that the construction industry is 97% male and if you are part of the 3% it can feel lonely and unprotected. We need to achieve critical mass, because my experience is that, until you have about 30% of women, it still feels unsafe. With more women, the whole dynamic changes.
“There are very good careers available, with lots of opportunities for collaboration – bouncing ideas around a team and coming up with a solution to a problem, perhaps a solution no one else had ever thought of before.
“We don’t talk enough about the creative aspect of being involved in professions such as engineering and perhaps if we did, it would make the industry more attractive to a much wider range of talent.
“I really hope that more women who wouldn’t otherwise think about engineering or construction give it a thought because these are good jobs and you get to be part of a team where you collaborate, work together and problem solve.”
Fiona Harper, who is also The Secretary of the Scottish Joint Industry Board (SJIB), said:
“We are grateful to the Minister for taking the time to take part in our video interview and address this important issue.
“Women have a vital role to play in the modern construction sector and it is vital that we seek out female talent to help us develop the technology of tomorrow.”
Marked every year on April 22, Earth Day is a celebration which demonstrates support for environmental protection and includes a wide range of global events.