I’m a female construction worker – I swapped travelling the world for high vis and hard hat, we need more women | The Sun

AN AIR hostess has swapped travelling the world for a life in construction – and is urging other women to get involved.

Lynsey Kirk, 22, was made redundant with Ryanair during the pandemic before realising her potential as a quantity surveyor.

She was brought onboard as a framework co-ordinator by Graham Construction before progressing into a role as trainee QS.

And she is now progressing with the graduate apprenticeship programme at Glasgow Caledonian University.

Lynsey, from Hamilton, said: “After being made redundant from my air hostess role during Covid, I was at a crossroads looking for the best next step for my career.

"In my early 20s, it was challenging to know what to do next, but after I was introduced to the GRAHAM team, they opened a door to a career in construction that I’d never considered before.

“The mix of on-site practical experience and degree-level education is a fantastic way to get to grips with the role properly, and I will feel confident stepping into a full-time role with GRAHAM after graduation in 2026.

"It gives me great peace of mind to know that I have guaranteed employment after completing my degree and I’m excited to progress a successful career in the Scottish construction industry.”

The Scottish construction industry is experiencing a significant skills shortage and in a bid to bridge the gap, Graham is investing in its dedicated apprenticeship scheme to future-proof the talent pipeline.

In total, Graham has 27 young people in Scotland signed up to a formal apprenticeship programme and has a further 10 opportunities coming available throughout 2023 in engineering, site management and planning.

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But Lynsey added: “We need more women and girls to get involved”

Debbie Rutherford, Social Impact Manager for Graham Building North, said: “The construction industry is experiencing a real skills shortage.

"There is a concerning lack of qualified people available to fill vacancies, and in a bid to address this, Graham has made a significant investment in the training and upskilling of colleagues with the aim of building future talent – and retaining existing skills for the company.

“It has been well documented that the candidate pool of construction workers is shrinking at an unsustainable rate, and long-term solutions are required.

"Therefore, earn as you learn schemes, such as the Graduate Apprenticeships, are critical for employers.

“We are finding many benefits. Our apprentices are not only obtaining qualifications, but they are also gaining invaluable experience which benefits us as an employer.

"The knowledge our colleagues are acquiring is being applied on sites, which brings positive change through fresh new methods and different ways of thinking.

"Very importantly, Graduate Apprenticeships are also opening up the industry to new demographics and creating a diverse and inclusive workforce.”

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