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Minister for Women & Equalities Praises Female College Apprentice

A Leeds College of Building apprentice was recently selected as an outstanding candidate to represent employer BAM Nuttall in a crucial online consultation.

Second-year Civil Engineering apprentice, India Penny, spoke to Baroness Berridge (Minister for Women & Equalities) and representatives of the Women’s Business Council following BAM Construct and BAM Nuttall’s work on ‘Flexible Working Pioneers.’

The project with consultancy Timewise and industry body Build UK involved a pioneering study into flexible working on construction sites (the first of its kind in the industry). The bespoke research looked at how to re-design jobs and shift site-based roles, to enable more flexible working in the construction industry. 

The programme was designed specifically for construction businesses that seek to maximise the productivity benefits of workplace flexibility and diversity. The pilot case studies are helping develop an industry-wide toolkit.

During the MS Teams session with the Minister, discussions covered benchmarking the gender pay gap in construction, promoting the findings of the Flexible Working Pioneers project, and supporting the provision of Women’s PPE and on-site facilities as standard.

India is currently a BAM apprentice engineer working on the Environment Agency Radcliffe and Redvales Flood Alleviation Scheme. India recently switched from Quantity Surveying to Civil Engineering to get more experience on-site. The College recognised India’s hard work during her most recent block of distance learning, arriving at 7.00am each morning to spend two hours working with engineers before attending lessons.

Steve Hamer, Calder Valley Area Portfolio Lead at BAM Nuttall, said: 

“India was chosen because of her outstanding performance over the last year on the BAM Apprentice Scheme. She’s not only changed to Engineering instead of Quantity Surveying but has achieved distinctions in all levels of her college work since making the switch.

“On top of that, during her block release to college, she only had 2 hours of lessons and was attending site on Mondays and Fridays to gain more experience […]. This makes her stand out from the crowd as going above and beyond and to maximise the opportunity she’s been given.”

“[India] did fantastically well as she spoke openly, honestly and professionally from the heart […]. I’m very proud of what she’s achieved so far.”

 The panel talked to India about her route into the industry, why she decided to undertake an Apprenticeship in Civil Engineering, job role, and what it’s like to be a woman in construction. Baroness Berridge praised India for her passion, dedication, and being an inspirational ambassador for women in the construction industry.