Much has been reported on the damaging skills gap faced by the UK property and construction industry. The Association of Women in Property (WiP) has been working to encourage girls and young women to enter the industry through an extensive education programme that includes its National Student Awards, now in their tenth year.
Local student Claire Miles, studying Foundation Degree in Sustainable Construction and Surveying at Coleg Y Cymoedd, University of South Wales has come top in the South Wales Region competition, sponsored by Cambria Consulting, Gleeds and RICS, which recognises the talent available to the industry at the earliest possible stage, while students are still studying.
The awards aim to highlight to industry the necessity to link with universities early in the education process and also improve the students’ knowledge on the career options available to them.
Many secure work placements as a direct result of competing in the Awards, which can translate into permanent positions upon graduation.
Mandy St John Davey, chairman of the South Wales branch, said,
“Claire has done really well to win the regional Award and we are delighted she will be representing this region at the national final in September. This is a tough competition with some extremely talented, enthusiastic and professional young women taking part, all of which bodes well for the industry recruitment pipeline.
“But this is very much a pipeline and the industry can’t afford to have any blockages. It is crying out for more young people to come on board. Despite the skills shortage, careers in property and construction are still largely forgotten, particularly for young women, when looking ahead past their GCSEs. We are calling upon schools – and parents – to remember the amazing opportunities offered by this industry, when they are giving careers advice.”
The Student Awards are sponsored nationally by three major industry names, Construction company Bouygues UK, property advisers Cushman & Wakefield and house builder, Linden Homes.
Carole Ditty, Legal Director of Bouygues UK, said,
“We’re pleased to be supporting the Women in Property Awards again. The awards provide a strong platform for students to be able to pitch directly to the businesses, employers and industries that are of interest to them. Speaking as an employer, it is also a great way for us to spot new talent and to see the genuine passion that people have for the industry. Most importantly, it helps the students to get a good insight into the kind of companies they might be working for and how their career might develop, which is useful for people who may yet be undecided on their career path.
“It’s great to see so many women taking part in the awards this year and on behalf of Bouygues UK, congratulations to Claire and all of the finalists here today.”
The regional judging panel includes representatives from different industry disciplines, with Gary Mitchell, director Cambria Consulting, Leigh Hughes, regional MD Bouygues, Jonathon Smart, associate director Residential Agency & Valuation, Cushman & Wakefield and Mandy St John Davey, Property Developer and Chairman of Women in Property South Wales, taking part this year.
Claire received a cheque for £300 and a trophy.
She said, “I was thrilled when my University nominated me for these Awards and the process has been an amazing experience. I’ve learned a lot, met some great people including the judges – I’d like to thank them for putting their faith in me.”
In addition to Claire there were five other regional finalists, all of whom were nominated by their Universities. They were invited to go before a judging panel of industry experts, where they were questioned on a piece of coursework and topical industry issues.
The finalists were:-
Nichola Meredith studying HNC Surveying at the University of South Wales
Kate Davis, studying BSc City & Regional Planning at Cardiff University
Chelsigh Hacker, studying BSc Quantity Surveying and Commercial Management, University of South Wales
Gwen Thomas, studying BSc Geography (Human) and Planning, Cardiff University
Hayley McCarthy, studying BSc Project Management Surveying, University of South Wales
The national final will be held at Claridge’s, London on Wednesday 21st September when students from across the UK compete for the National Student Award trophy.