Yesterday we launched Bricklaying Forterra Females (BFF), a groundbreaking competition that took place as part of a wider construction skills day at Havering College in Essex.
BFF, the UK’s first ever all-female bricklaying contest, kicked off National Apprenticeship Week and National Careers Week, and fell just four days before International Women’s Day on 8th March.
BFF is a brand new national competition which aims to find the best female student bricklayers in the country, whilst encouraging more girls and women to consider careers in bricklaying or construction. According to David Jones, Senior Instructor for Construction at Havering College, statistics show that women currently make up just 2% of hands-on construction workers in the UK, a figure which has barely changed for over 15 years.
Yesterday’s contest saw four female student bricklayers from colleges across the UK compete for six hours to build an International Women’s Day-themed competition piece. Christian Hatherall-Good, Head of Construction Curriculum at Brooklands College in Weybridge, and David Jones of Havering College, judged the pieces and announced 17-year-old Naomi Hamilton of Brooklands College as the winner. Second place was taken by Charlotte Springer, 18, also of Brooklands College, while 23-year-old Tangina “Tango” Choudhury of Barnfield College in Luton earned third place. Tiffany Atkinson, 17, who studies at Havering College, was highly commended for her competition piece. All four are currently studying bricklaying at Level 1.
Bob Noseda, Sector Skills Advisor at Havering College, said: “We’re very proud to have hosted the first BFF competition. Every national competition has to start somewhere, and we will hopefully be able to look back on today as a legacy event.”
Kerri Chambers, a former student bricklayer who is now Assistant Quantity Surveyor for a London construction firm, and who won a bricklaying competition at Havering College while still training, said: “The industry is always looking for more people to join up, and these days there are more options for women who want to get involved and build a career in the sector.
“It’s great that a company like Forterra is helping to raise the profile of women in bricklaying by organising the BFF competition. I began my career as a bricklayer when I was 19, and ten years on I’ve managed to progress in the industry. I put my success down to having a background in the trades; it’s hard work, but it can lead to a satisfying and rewarding career.”
The competition was run by us and was supported by the Brick Development Association, the Association of Brickwork Contractors and Havering College. We donated our iconic London Bricks to Havering College for use during the competition.
Our Chief Executive Stephen Harrison said: “Construction has always traditionally been seen as male-dominated, but we hope and expect to see increasing numbers of women working across the sector. This initiative aims to inspire more females to explore the opportunities the industry has to offer.”
We are committed to building confidence and inspiring ambition in the next generation of bricklayers and construction workers. Our company donated tens of thousands of bricks to colleges across the UK in 2018 as part of SkillBuild, and will continue this support in 2019. This year we are establishing London Brick Construction Hubs at six further education colleges across the country, in preparation for which we have donated 12,000 London Bricks to each of the colleges. BFF will be followed on 29th March by our Best in London Brick competition, which is open to professional bricklayers and will also be held at Havering College.
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