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Rail Minister Claire Perry celebrates contribution of women to Crossrail

Europe’s largest construction project is challenging perceptions and helping to make construction an exciting and attractive career option for women.

Rail Minister Claire Perry yesterday (19 January 2016) hailed Crossrail’s efforts in attracting more women into engineering and urged the UK infrastructure industry to follow suit on future transport projects.

The minister highlighted the progress made by Crossrail as she joined Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, Crossrail Chairman Terry Morgan, and leading women from the transport industry, for a special ‘Women delivering Crossrail’ event at the House of Commons.

Women make up nearly a third of the workforce on Crossrail, the largest construction project in Europe. By comparison, across the construction industry, just 11% of employees are women, including those in office-based roles, and only 6% of engineers are female.

Rail Minister Claire Perry said:

Crossrail has led the way in getting more women involved in building vital infrastructure, boosting female representation in the construction workforce and creating role models to inspire the next generation of engineers and construction workers.

The project continues to deliver huge economic benefits and create a trained construction workforce. With our investment projects like HS2, opportunities in construction for women will continue to grow, and I hope these build on Crossrail’s best practice.

Crossrail has been ambitious in trying to change industry perceptions and make its workplace more welcoming for women. The team has challenged the language used on site, connected Crossrail female role models with girls forming career plans, and carried out visits to schools and career events. Its Young Crossrail programme has reached over 36,000 school pupils, teachers and parents, and a close partnership with the not-for-profit organisation Women into Construction has helped make construction an exciting and attractive career option for women.

Crossrail Chairman Terry Morgan said:

Crossrail has provided hundreds of young people with the opportunity to learn their trade on Europe’s largest infrastructure project, and will go on to build a fantastic career delivering the projects of the future. To deliver this unprecedented number of projects it is vital we increase the number of women in the industry. All of us, from teachers and parents to chief executives and industry leaders, need to do more to help women make the most of the exciting career opportunities on offer.

Attendees at the event, which was part of the 100 years of women in transport campaign, also included Karen Boswell, Managing Director, Hitachi Rail Europe, and Alison Munro, Managing Director – Development, HS2 Ltd, alongside a specialist panel comprising:

  • Valerie Todd, Talent and Resources Director, Crossrail
  • Linda Miller, Project Manager, Crossrail
  • Rebecca Hughes, Apprentice Site Engineer, Crossrail
  • Dinesh Hansla, Graduate Engineer, Crossrail

The ‘100 years of women in transport’ campaign, which is also supported by TfL, Network Rail, the Women’s Transportation Seminar and Women’s Engineering Society, as well as others in the transport industry, is being used as an opportunity to showcase the role of women in transport, share best practice from across the industry and tackle the challenges that remain.

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