Inspiring women into trade roles

We have joined forces with eight more of the largest names in UK housing to increase the representation of women in trade roles.

Founding the Women's Trade Network with Plentific, the Chartered Institute of Housing, Peabody, L&Q, Places for People, Women's Pioneer Housing and Direct Works, together we will provide training, support and access to employment for women.

Currently, just two percent of tradespeople in the UK are female, a statistic that has barely changed in 40 years. Many women have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Women represent 57 percent of the workforce in closed sectors such as retail, and arts and leisure and with a lack of certainty about when they might reopen and concerns over further lockdown measures in the future, many are looking for viable alternatives.

The trades can offer a hugely fulfilling career to women, yet the stereotypes attached often deter them from entering the profession. The aim of the Women’s Trade Network is to increase awareness of the variety of roles available to women through DLOs, contractors and self-employment, as well as offer routes into training and employment.

In addition to joining the network, we have signed the Women’s Trade Network Pledge, a commitment to supporting long-term change in the industry. While increased awareness and access to jobs will encourage more women into trade roles, structural changes are also required in order to increase female representation in the industry.

The Pledge outlines achievable ways partners can remove barriers, empower and support women as well as increase access:

Remove Barriers

  • Commit to ensuring an inclusive workplace, offering flexible working arrangements, equal pay and equal opportunities
  • Commit to sharing best practices with fellow Women’s Trade Network organisations, as well as the wider industry, to support long term change in the sector and remove barriers industry-wide

Empower and Support

  • Offer support and help to build a network of role models and mentors for women entering the profession
  • Spread awareness and highlight the variety of roles available to women through our communications channels, partners, networks and residents

Increase Access

  • Commit to sharing job opportunities, including apprenticeships and traineeships, with women who have been through the programme when a relevant position becomes available
  • Provide residents with the ability to request female-operatives and assign work orders to women in those cases

Open to any women in the UK, irrespective of her age, background or experience, the programme will offer two streams. The first will be open to women already qualified in a trade and looking for advice on training on starting a business, while the second will provide entry-level training to women without relevant qualifications.

Elly Hoult, group director of assets for Notting Hill Genesis, said: “There should be no job that is closed to anyone because of their characteristics. Stereotypes about trade roles have long deterred women from pursuing it as a career, but there are a variety of opportunities available across housing providers, contractors and self-employment. The Women’s Trade Network will highlight those opportunities and show that there is a place for everyone.”

Cem Savas, co-founder and CEO of Plentific, added: “Through our work with both housing providers and contractors, we’ve seen there is a huge opportunity for women in trade. Our housing partners have told us of their need to fulfil resident wishes by offering the ability to select female operatives, while our contractor partners have told us of their difficulty in attracting women to their available roles.

"It’s clear that there is far more opportunity for women in trade roles than they may realise and we’re thrilled to be launching the Women’s Trade Network to not only increase representation in the industry but also change lives.”

The Women’s Trade Network is currently recruiting for supporting partners who share its vision on this issue, who are passionate about increasing female representation in trades and who want to make a long-term change to the industry. For further information and to sign up visit the Women's Trade Network website