Community housing | Construction visit for Stafford schoolgirls
Stafford and Rural Homes - SARH

Construction visit for Stafford schoolgirls

Girls from a Stafford school have been learning that the construction industry is not just a man’s world during a visit to a local building site.

Stafford and Rural Homes (SARH), together with developer Novus Property Solutions, is currently building 32 affordable homes for rent and Shared Ownership on the site of the former West Way pub in the Highfields area of the town. The project has provided the ideal opportunity for local youngsters to learn more about construction and given Year 5 and 6 pupils from Barnfields Primary School the chance to see how women are enjoying success in the industry.

On hand to share their experiences of working in construction were Laura Ingram, Development Project Manager at SARH, and Helen Horne – a Senior Surveyor with Employer’s Agent, Thornton Firkin – who helped organise the visit.

Following the visit, Laura said: “It was great to see these young girls taking an interest in an industry that’s traditionally been male dominated, and we hope they will go on to consider a future in construction.

“Although it was strange to sometimes be the only female working on a development project, I’ve always felt welcome and part of a team. Since I started to work in the industry I’ve started to see a lot more women on construction sites.”

Meanwhile Helen believes that it is never too early to start inspiring young minds, and said: “Although it will be a while yet before these youngsters will need to start thinking seriously about a career, by giving them an insight into construction they may be inspired to think about learning a trade or becoming part of the next generation of construction professionals.”

In total, 11 girls from the school took part in the site visit, and Barnfields Primary School teacher Sarah Adamson said it proved an interesting and rewarding experience.

“As well as discovering that girls can do jobs that have been traditionally done by men, they were also able to see how subjects such as maths are so important in the workplace,” she added.

As well as the former pub, 20 disused garages have also been cleared from the site ahead of work on the development, which is starting to take shape. One of a number of schemes under construction by SARH in its tenth anniversary year, it consists of 18 apartments and a number of two- and three-bedroom houses for rent and shared ownership.

Due for completion in March 2017, the £3.9 million scheme has been supported with funding from the Homes and Community Agency and is expected to make a significant contribution to the regeneration of the local area.

Stuart Seddon, Novus chairman, commented: “Historically there have not been enough women working in construction, and this is an issue the industry is trying to tackle. We were delighted to be able to show these girls around the site and hope that visits like this will, in the future, inspire more girls to consider the many exciting and varied career options in the construction industry.”

Further information about this and other developments, including details of how to register for an affordable home, can be found on the SARH website.

Pictured here at the West Way development are, back row left to right, Jess Hand from Novus, Helen Horne from Thornton Firkin and Laura Ingram from SARH with (front row) Darcie Hughes, Courtney Heath and Ruby Edwards from Barnfields Primary School.

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