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25 May 2022

IT Sligo initiative to aid promotion of gender balance in the construction sector

IT Sligo initiative to aid promotion of gender balance in the construction sector

IT Sligo Female students studying in a number of construction oriented subjects

IT Sligo have been promoting construction related programmes to females through various initiatives recently and have seen growth in their female student numbers this academic year.

Building on this progress, a new female student network has been established to allow these students to have a strong peer group, which will help settle them into third level education and aid retention. This new Female Student Network is operating within the Civil Engineering and Construction programmes at IT Sligo.

Traditionally, careers in construction have mainly appealed to males. As a result, according to the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), only 1 in 10 employees are female.

During a time of unprecedented government capital investment plans to address shortages in housing and improve our roads, rail and water infrastructure, there is significant shortages of graduates from construction related programmes. Without addressing this gender balance issue, it will be a major challenge to ensure adequate supply of graduates over the next few decades to satisfy a growing demand.

In fact the CIF have highlighted that 112,000 additional construction workers will be required.

Trevor McSharry, Head of Department of Civil Engineering and Construction added that, “with improving health and safety, the use of digital technologies and a focus on collaboration and sustainability, I think a lot of females are now considering construction related programmes as the sector evolves.

Improving gender balance within the construction sector is a key priority for all national bodies, not only to address skill shortages, but also to improve team diversity, inclusion and overall performance. We offer a broad range of full time programmes including civil engineering, quantity surveying and construction project management and applied technology.”

Lisa Brennan was recently recruited from the construction industry as a lecturer, leads this student female network initiative at IT Sligo and has secured the support of the Engineers Ireland Women in Engineering group, the Chartered Institute of Builders and the Society of Chartered Surveyors of Ireland.

She highlighted that “monthly discussion groups will be held between female students across all of our programmes, both full time and online. Presentations from industry based female guest speakers will also be organised. Regional school engagement will be set up to promote programmes especially to female students to increase the awareness of the excellent range of careers available.

By implementing our networking initiative and providing an all rounded experience for female students, we can increase the appeal for females to study construction related programmes at IT Sligo. This will ultimately help grow the number of graduates from third level and help improve diversity.”

Students in picture include

Lily Vickers, 1st year Construction Project Management

Amy Donohoe, 2nd year Quantity Surveying

Laura Connolly, 1st year Advanced Wood and Sustainable Building Technology

Audrey Adams Horan, 1st year Quantity Surveying

Teni Bada, 2nd year Construction Project Management

MaryAnn McCann, 2nd year Quantity Surveying

Stef Russell, 2nd year Advanced Wood and Sustainable Building Technology

Caoimhe Clark Hagan, 1st year Construction Project Management

Aimee Branley, 1st year Construction Project Management

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