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Scheme launched to get more women into construction in Northern Ireland

Scheme launched to get more women into construction in Northern Ireland

A new training scheme has been launched in Northern Ireland in a bid to get more women interested in careers in the construction industry.Women'sTec and Clanmil Housing Group are behind the programme, which is the first of its kind in the region and is intended to equip women with skills in areas such as plumbing, joinery, painting and decorating, tiling and horticulture, the Belfast Telegraph reports.At present, there is a significant gender gap in the UK's building sector. Ray Hutchinson, managing director of Gilbert-Ash - one of the first organisations to back the programme - has explained that 24 per cent of his country's workforce is female. This may be significantly above the industry average of 13.4 per cent, but it is still under one-quarter of the firm's total staff, highlighting the extent of the industry's gender disparity.It is due to statistics like this that the training scheme has been launched, with leading figures in the industry recognising that action needs to be taken to address the gender skills gap, leading them to offer to pass on their expertise to potential new industry recruits.To begin with, the training scheme will be primarily based in Belfast and surrounding areas, but as it gains traction, there are plans for it to extend further across Northern Ireland.Lynn Cavill, chief executive of Women'sTec, explained: "These courses will be complemented with confidence-building, money management, job readiness and enterprise programmes, offering a full range of opportunities to students."Derek Baker of the Northern Ireland Department for Employment and Learning added that the scheme should "equip women with the relevant skills and qualifications to enable them to secure employment of consider self-employment".One woman who may benefit from what the courses have to offer is Sophia Kyle, who spoke to the newspaper about a recent community gardening project she took part in that was run by Clanmil Housing Group.She explained that this experience has sparked her interest in learning new skills and taking part in further similar projects in the future. 

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