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Wrekin supports women in construction week 2024

Wrekin Housing Group is providing an insight to the numerous women making their mark in the housing association’s development and trade team's.
Ann Donahoe and Laura Benting are part of Wrekin's Devleopment Team

The Wrekin Housing Group is aiming to inspire more women to work in construction.

Though more women are joining the construction industry than ever before, they still make up a very small portion of the workforce. Women are in fewer leadership roles and according to the National Association of Women in construction, women make up only 10.9% of the roles in the sector

In recognition of Women in Construction Week (3-9March 2024) The Wrekin Housing Group is providing an insight to the numerous women making their mark in the housing association’s development and trade team’s. Women represent more than 50% of Wrekin’s development team.

Development Programme Manager Laura Benting has been with Wrekin for the past three years having previously worked in the retail sector. Laura’s role includes bidding for grant funding to ensure Wrekin can continue to build new affordable homes, as well as helping build relationships with a number of key partners.

Laura said:

“I came to Wrekin knowing very little about social housing.

“I had my little boy and started to think that retail wasn’t the right fit from a family perspective. I joined Wrekin as a development assistant and later that year.

“Our development manager left and Wrekin were very supportive and allowed me to take the role, initially as a secondment. I was a little nervous – it was something completely new to me but I was lucky to have the support of the team. I was fortunate enough to get the role on a permanent basis.

“I took a real gamble but it’s really paid off. I can’t thank the team enough for embracing me and giving me the opportunity and having the confidence and trust in me.

“Our team is over 50% women and we have people working at all levels. We’re bucking the national trend. There’s never any pushback and we’re not treated any differently – whether that’s by people within Wrekin or our many external partners.”

Area Investment Liaison Officer Ann Donohoe has worked at Wrekin for seventeen years, starting out as a scheme manager with the providers retirement living team. Ann has also worked with Wrekin gas team but is now part of Wrekin’s award-winning development team that built 505 homes last year.

Ann said:

“Wrekin have supported me every step of the way – they’ve allowed me to get my qualifications and get experience in different sides of the business.

“If you look at the development and construction, traditionally the roles have been dominated by men. Over half of our team are women and we are being give real opportunities. I think it’s great.

“I think a lot has changed in the last few years. We are seeing more women in key development roles – that’s definitely the case here at Wrekin. I’ve felt hugely supported during my time here – I’ve been allowed to study and make real progress in my career.”

Painter and Decorator Samantha Stanley has been with Wrekin for 11 years.

Samantha said:

“I’m really proud of the progress that’s been made in recent years. I was the only female trade here when I started and it was quite nerve-racking at the time but I’ve always been treated with respect by my colleagues. Now we’re seeing female gas engineers, plasters and plumbers, as well as painters and decorators.

“The customers I visit are really supportive. One tenant couldn’t believe that Wrekin had a female painter and decorator. She was really supportive and even got in touch with the office to thank them for sending a female trade.”

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