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Construction industry ‘needs more women’
A NORTH-EAST builder has called for more women to break into the male-dominated industry after his company appointed its first female engineer.
Sarah Jopling, 22, from Newby, near Middlesbrough has spoken of her delight at joining Owen Pugh Group’s construction team as a graduate civil engineer.
Her first major project will be on a £1.54m project for the National Trust to carry out improvements on the Gibside Estate in Gateshead.
Women make up about two per cent of the workforce in construction, which John Dickson, chairman of Owen Pugh, branded “a tremendous under-utilisation of available talent”. He hoped Ms Jopling’s appointment would act as an inspiration to other women who may be considering a career in the industry.
Mr Dickson added: “At Owen Pugh we’re passionate about helping all young people to discover more about the varied careers they could pursue in construction and engineering.”.
“Our priority is to attract the talent and enthusiasm that will build the skilled workforce of the future, and this means ensuring that female students are equally equipped with the knowledge and skills to consider construction as a viable and rewarding career path. We’re committed to helping to overcome any barriers to this by building relationships with schools and colleges in the region.
“Owen Pugh actively encourages employment of women wherever possible, so I’m delighted to welcome Sarah to the company. Her talent and enthusiasm for the role is evident, and I’m sure she’s going to be a great asset to the team.”
Miss Jopling joins the company with a degree in civil engineering from the University of Teesside and industry experience from work placements she undertook alongside her studies.
Most recently, she worked with building firm J N Bentley, of Skipton, North Yorkshire, and was involved in upgrading the white water course at the Tees Barrage in Stockton.
Her main role at Owen Pugh, which has offices in Stockton and Sunderland, will be to ensure that all elements of building projects are constructed in the correct position, safely, to specification and quality standards, alongside cost control and programme delivery.
“For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated with the construction of buildings and bridges, so securing a role with a leading civil engineering firm like Owen Pugh – and having the chance to make an impact on the built environment which will benefit society for many years to come – is fantastic,” she said.
“Having lived on a farm all of my life, I love being outside, so a career in civil engineering will enable me to enjoy the great outdoors as well as having an office base.
“Growing up in a male environment with brothers, uncles and farm workers, I’m not concerned about entering a profession that’s typically male dominated and I think my skills will enable me to excel regardless of gender.”
Owen Pugh helped to set up a region-wide schools competition seven years ago which includes workshops geared towards educating female students about the variety of roles that exist within the construction sector.