The Women Helping Redevelop One of London’s Most Famous Prisons.
Plentific, in partnership with the Learning Curve Group, will be leading 'Women in Build', a series of trade workshops for women at Peabody's Holloway Park development.
On the same week as International Women’s Day, Plentific, in partnership with the Learning Curve Group, will be leading a series of trade workshops for women at the Holloway Park development via its Women's Trade Network (WTN) initiative. The workshops will also coincide with the 25th annual Women in Construction (WIC) week (5-11th March) and will run for 12 weeks.
Plentific’s WTN is an initiative, founded in 2021, specifically to provide advice, support, mentorship and access to training and job opportunities for women seeking to pursue a career as a tradesperson. It shares a similar ethos to that of WIC, which celebrates and promotes the role of women in the construction industry.
The Holloway Park development, situated in North London, was acquired by Peabody in 2019 and is committed to delivering 985 new homes, including 60% affordable housing, in partnership with London Square and the Mayor of London. The redevelopment is taking place at the site of HM Prison Holloway, formerly the largest women’s prison in Western Europe until its closure in 2016, 113 years after it became a female only prison.
Activities that the women at the Holloway Park development will be participating in include:
- CSCS training and health and safety assessments
- Basic bricklaying skills
- Electrical work and voltage training
- Timber and joint work
- Practical furniture building and interior unit assembly
- Painting and decorating
Peabody is one of the founding members of the initiative alongside Plentific as well as some of the largest organisations across the housing industry, including L&Q, Notting Hill Genesis and the Chartered Institute for Housing, with a goal of increasing gender diversity in the industry.
The programme addresses not only a social need, but also the labour and skills shortage currently present within the UK construction sector. It’s open to any woman interested in learning a trade or currently qualified and thinking about the next step in their career.
Lauren Chivers, Associate Director, Women's Trade Network, commented: “The Women’s Trade Network was born out of a simple customer request… ‘Can I select a female to carry out my job?’. Not being able to guarantee this we realised there was a disparity between the number of women in trade vs the growing demand for their services. From this moment, we decided to create the WTN and have now grown to 80 partners since 2021. Likewise, we also introduced a feature on the Plentific platform whereby users can request a female tradesperson to carry out the job.”
In addition to some of the housing industry's biggest organisations, additional key partners of the WTN include colleges in London, Nottingham and the North East that offer fully funded, part-time courses for unqualified women to start their journey into a trade career. Once graduated from these courses, the WTN offers guidance on apprenticeship opportunities and a mentor to support graduates on their next steps.
Ashleigh S is a graduate of the Women’s Trade Network and now works full time as a Labourer for Advanced Building and Maintenance Services. Ashleigh began a course via the WTN attending weekly practical and theory classes in different trades before beginning her full-time role six months ago. Ashleigh commented: “I originally heard about the WTN via an Instagram advert and was excited to see an initiative directed towards empowering women and enabling transitions into the construction industry”.
“I initially encountered some surprise from customers as well as colleagues and friends as a woman in the industry. However, I am happy to report that overall, I have felt massively welcomed. I think maintaining conversations about what helps bring out the best in people and what there is a collective appetite for - be that training, mentoring, wellbeing support or some other initiative - creates an empowering and action focused environment. I would encourage anyone with an inclination to try out the industry however is accessible to them as there are so many opportunities in the construction industry if you want to pursue them.”