Letter: Construction sector is making progress

EMMA Cowing's article headlined "Construction industry 'has built barriers against women'" (News, 15 May) on attitudes among Scotland's construction apprentices did somewhat of a disservice to both the report findings it was based on, and the construction industry as a whole.

Yes, women remain significantly under-represented within the construction industry, a loss of talent that in our experience employers are only too well aware of. But thanks to work undertaken by ConstructionSkills Scotland, in partnership with the Scottish Resource Centre for Women, attitudes are changing and real progress is being made. The research reported both male and female apprentices enjoyed their work and were positive about their career choices.

It would also be wrong to infer that bullying is more of an issue within the construction sector than other industries. Of those we surveyed, 94 per cent said bullying is not acceptable, only 6 per cent claimed to have experienced it and 84 per cent claimed to have never witnessed an incidence of offensive behaviour to women.

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The construction industry has raised these difficult questions because it is committed to operate in a way that demonstrates equal opportunities for all. It actively supports the aim of the Scottish Resource Centre in increasing the participation of women, at all levels, in science, engineering and technology.

Much work remains to be done but those within the industry are certainly listening.

Linda Somerville, Manager, Scottish Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology, Edinburgh Napier University, and Graeme Ogilvy, Director, Construction Skills Scotland