Career building for young girls

Pupils from Mackie Academy were among those who took part in the event
Pupils from Mackie Academy were among those who took part in the event

A conference has taken place aimed at attracting the next generation of female architects and construction specialists from throughout the North and North-east.

Around 80 girls from schools, including Cults and Westhill Academies, attended Aberdeen’s first Women in Architecture and Construction Conference.

It was organised by St Margaret’s School for Girls in collaboration with Robert Gordon University’s School of Architecture and Built Environment.

The second and third year pupils took part in the day-long programme of interactive workshops, team challenges and hands-on activities, which was delivered by a team of academics from RGU.

St Margaret’s head teacher Anna Tomlinson said the aim of the conference was to break down some of the barriers which prevent girls from considering a career in architecture or construction, both traditionally male-dominated areas.

She explained: “As the only girls’ school in Aberdeen, we have long been committed to eradicating gender stereotype around subject and career choice.

“We consider ourselves exceptionally fortunate to have two world-class universities on our doorstep, both of which provide a diverse range of degree courses for those attracted to a STEM career.”

Dr Marianthi Leon, senior lecturer and course leader at Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and the Built Environment, said the construction industry has faced a skills shortage for a number of years, with recent reports highlighting that women make up just 12% of the workforce.

The demand for talent, meanwhile, is currently at an all-time high.

Dr Leon added: “Construction is an industry that requires many different skills and abilities.

“To achieve high levels of performance it is important to employ people from different backgrounds, with different experiences and a variety of capabilities.

“There is a pressing need to do more to encourage a commitment to gender diversity in the workplace and thus attract more women into the industry and enable a smoother path to senior leadership.

“Failing to promote women to leadership positions wastes the valuable contribution that women make to the built environment world and the economy.”