Leading building products manufacturer Forterra launched Bricklaying Forterra Females (BFF) on Monday, a groundbreaking competition that took place as part of a wider construction skills day to kick off our National Apprenticeship Week activities.
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. 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.
The competition saw four female student bricklayers from colleges across the UK compete for six hours to build an International Women’s Day-themed competition piece. The pieces were judged by Christian Hatherall-Good, Head of Construction Curriculum at Brooklands College in Weybridge, and our very own brickwork lecturer Demetrios Savvides.
17-year-old Naomi Hamilton of Brooklands College was crowned the winner, followed closely by Charlotte Springer, also of Brooklands College, and Tangina Choudhury from Barnfield College coming in at third.
Sector Skills Advisor Bob Noseda, who was instrumental in organising the competition, 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.
The competition received further support from the Brick Development Association and the Association of Brickwork Contractors. Such backing from industry leaders helps to raise the importance and profile of events like this one, particularly to encourage greater female participation in construction trades.
Kerri Chambers, who herself won a bricklaying competition we previously hosted and is now a successful Assistant Quantity Surveyor for a London construction firm, 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.
This competition will be succeeded by Forterra’s Best in London Brick competition on March 29th, which we will also be hosting.