New partnership to increase number of women in construction

By Nick Osbourne | Published on 8 March 2024 | 4 min read

Sizewell C and Women into Construction today announced a new partnership that will enable the new nuclear power project on the Suffolk coast to access a larger pool of talented women to join the team.

The new partnership – announced on International Women’s Day – will see the creation of an initiative to tackle the barriers that might prevent women to access roles in the nuclear industry and enable Sizewell C to more easily recruit potential female employees.

The two organisations will work together to broaden access to Sizewell C through work experience placements, job application support, work placements, progression support, and other opportunities to show the breadth of roles available.

Women into Construction was originally developed in 2012 at the Olympic Park in London to increase the numbers of women working in all areas of the project’s construction, and thereby inspire better gender balance throughout the UK construction industry.

Damian Leydon, Sizewell C Site Delivery Director, and formerly Construction Director of the Athletes’ Village for the London 2012 Olympics, said: “I’ve seen first-hand the impact that Women into Construction had at the Olympic Park, and I know they’ll make a significant difference for the Sizewell C project, enabling us to build the best team possible through direct access to a talent pool of potential female employees.

“We know that there are barriers that prevent women from moving into construction roles like the ones on offer at Sizewell C: it’s an issue not only facing our project, but many others in the nuclear industry and across construction. Through this partnership, however, we can tackle those barriers head on, and it really signals our intent to engage more women in the project, especially in areas where they are currently underrepresented.”

In 2015, Women into Construction became an independent not-for-profit organisation, continuing to deliver the high-quality holistic service that it had developed on the Olympic Park. The organisation provides advice and guidance, training, work placements and jobs to women interested in entering the construction industry, while also helping contractors and stakeholders to address the skills shortages in construction and create a more diverse workforce.

Jacqui Wordsworth, Business Development Director, Women into Construction (WiC), said: “We are delighted to be working with Sizewell C to help inspire and encourage women to consider a career in construction in the East Anglia region. Only 16% of the entire workforce in the UK construction industry is represented by women and we are looking forward to working with Sizewell C to provide women in the region with the opportunity to gain valuable insights and experience into what we believe is an exciting sector and company.”

Gender Balance at Sizewell C

The Sizewell C project is already making strides in developing a gender-balanced workforce: with the appointment this week of Tilly Spencer as Sizewell C’s Technical Director, the project’s leadership team – under the joint leadership of Julia Pyke – is now 55% female; apprenticeship recruitment has been 50% female since the programme began in 2021; and the workforce is currently over 40% female.

To help it achieve and maintain its gender-balance targets, the project had already created a Gender Balance Network and became a member of Women into Construction (WiC), an independent not-for-profit organisation that promotes gender equality in construction.

Hayley Critchley, Head of Compliance at Sizewell C, joined the construction team three weeks ago: “Sizewell C is such an amazing opportunity for women in East Suffolk. There are a lot of ladies that hold key roles onsite already, and it’s a really welcoming environment for women. I feel like I have a voice here already and my needs as a woman in construction have been thought through and catered for.

“It’s clear that Sizewell C has put in place the policies, the processes, and the support networks to make it a truly diverse and gender-balanced place to work. But it really is hard to get ladies to apply for construction roles, there are so many perceived blockers in the construction industry. WiC can make a difference there: I love what they are doing and the services and ongoing support that they offer. I think they’ll open up the amazing opportunities at Sizewell C to even more women in the region.”

Discover more

You can find out more about Women into Construction on their website.

And you can read more about Sizewell C’s gender balance targets on our Sustainability at Sizewell C report.

Tagged with: International Women's Day, Women into Construction
Posted by Nick Osbourne

Nick is Sizewell C's Media Relations Manager