HRH The Princess Royal officially opened the new WISE office at the UK’s only specialist building and construction college earlier this week.
Leeds Enterprise Partnership estimate that construction, which currently represents 5% of the region’s workforce, is expected to grow by 11% in the next 10 years, generating a total of 42,000 job opportunities for local people.
Ian Billyard, principal of Leeds College of Building and president of the Yorkshire Federation of Builders, said: “As the UK’s only specialist building and construction college, we are delighted to celebrate our partnership with WISE at this official opening.
“Welcoming WISE to our brand new Hunslet campus is just one of the demonstrable ways in which we are championing the role of women in construction, engineering and the built environment.
“With higher level engineering and building services apprenticeships available, there has never been a better opportunity to join the industry.
“I would urge young women in Leeds and the region as a whole to take a serious look at the fantastic career opportunities available.”
Helen Wollaston, WISE chief executive, calls on schools, colleges, employers and business leaders to play their part.
She added: “By turning away from maths, physics and computing, girls rule themselves out of a whole range of jobs where they could do really well.
“WISE provides resources to show girls and their families the kind of jobs which would suit them. Most girls are never told about these opportunities, or told construction and engineering are not for them.
“In this day and age that simply isn’t true. We don’t want girls to lose out and we can’t afford to let local industry lose out on by missing half their potential talent pool.”
Her Royal Highness unveiled a commemorative plaque and addressed the guests. Royal Patron of WISE since 2000, HRH The Princess Royal commented on the need to improve links between schools and employers to give girls better information about the opportunities on their doorstep to find their niche in science, technology, engineering or construction.