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 The WinR 2017 Conference 

 

The 2nd Annual Women in Roofing Conference was a huge success attracting nearly 100 attendees to The Raddison Blu Hotel East Midlands Airport for what proved to be an informative, educational and inspiring day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The day began with an introduction from the Women in Roofing Group Founders Livia Williams and Denise Cherry.

 

Livia highighted some of the great work which has recently been undertaken by Group members and recognition of Awards won by various individuals in the roofing sector including Vice Chair of WinR and Director of SPV Group, Kate Whatley who was shortlisted for a Women in Construction Award

 

 

 

 

 

Current Chair of the Group Lynn Street then formally introduced the Conference and thanked all the sponsors of the conference for their valued support. Lynn then updated members on the developments made within the Group over the previous 12 months.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lynn then introduced the first panel debate being a ‘Mind the Gap ‘debate considering “are we helping to make the difference we want to see?”

 

The ‘Mind the Gap’ panel discussion was led by Maria Coulter- The Construction Coach and focused on equality and diversity in the roofing industry. The panels aim was to look at the generation gap due to an ageing workforce, the gender pay gaps that exist in the sector and the gap in the general perception of roofing compared to the real life experiences of women working in the industry.

 

The ‘Mind the Gap’ Panel consisted of Sarah Burke of Avonside Group Services,  Lisa McCaul of Roofing Systems Ireland, Maureen Douglas of Forster Roofing and Lauren Pollit who works for Wythenshaw Community Housing Group

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sarah Burke Head of training at Avonside Group focused on millennials and the ‘Generation gap’ and how to both encourage millennials into the industry but to also retain them.

 

 

 

 

 

Maureen Douglas of Forster Roofing focused on the ‘Diversity gap’ and discussed what was being done within Forster Roofing to address this. Maureen advised that females represent less than 1% of manual trades and suggested that we must take action now to bridge the diversity issues in the industry. 

 

Lisa McCaul focused on the ‘Perception gap’ and offered some anecdotes on how she became involved in the industry and challenges she had faced during her career.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lauren Pollitt who is one of the few women to achieve an NVQ Level 2 in Roofing, shared her experiences of working ‘on the tools’ in a roofing gang of nine roofers of all ages.

 

Lauren said “I really enjoy the work and I am well supported by the whole team. Interestingly, it is often the older people I meet and work with who are more accepting of a woman roofer.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maria then invited attendees for questions for the panel and this led onto a very interesting debate on how we could look to improve the image of the industry and change current perceptions.

 

As part of the debate, James Talman, CEO of the National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC) discussed the future plans for the Federation, and advised that the NFRC were strongly advocating tackling the ‘cowboy’ image of roofing by looking to introduce mandatory accreditation of roofing contractors.

 

To help break down stereotypes surrounding the construction industry and to address the skills shortage, the NFRC has been engaging with schools through various local initiatives and the WorldSkills’ Skills Show and the Skillbuild Competition.

 

 

Delegates were then asked to look at developing key action points that can be taken forwards to narrow gaps in the industry by attracting and retaining the best people. All tables groups were asked to develop 3 SMART objectives that the WinR Group could take away and look at developing and achieving in the next 12 months.

There is a strong case to be made that the Women in Roofing campaign has already made a significant difference to the "visibility" of women in professional positions throughout the industry. Since the start of Women in Roofing Management in 2013, the female membership of the Institute of Roofing has greatly increased and membership of the IOR Board of Directors is now 45% female. 

 

The profile of women in the roofing industry has increased greatly over the last few years, aided by female award winners recognised in local arenas, and national awards from both the IoR and the NFRC.

Livia Williams Co-Founder of the Women in Roofing Management project and NFRC Head of Training and RIA Training Manager commented;

“It’s so important that we make the industry more appealing for women. The issue is that there is a huge misconception about what kind of roles are available for women in construction. The truth is that women can fulfill any task that a man can, especially now that machines do the majority of manual lifting. There are positions available on the factory floor as well as well as in engineering, management, marketing and so much more,” Livia added.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a lively morning, the afternoon session focused on Sustainability and was led by James Talman, CEO of the NFRC, who led discussions on what the industry can do to ensure construction does not deplete resources for future generations.

 

The afternoon Sustainability Panel consisted of Imma Boada- Specification Manager at Tata steel, Dave Taylor- Business Development Manager for Tata steel, Carol Atherton, Bid manager for Avonside Group Services and Helen Clement- Community Investment advisor- Morgan Sindall

 

 

The UK Construction Strategy 2025 sets out clear ambitions for our industry; 50% less CO2, 50% quicker and 33% less cost.  Challenging targets that will not be met without acquiring new knowledge to help business leaders and managers adapt their businesses to meet these challenges.

True sustainability means being relevant to your people and your community, your business and market and above all to your customers, in the long-term and on each level. This is the original definition of sustainability.

If we move away from sustainability meaning green or CSR a much more powerful definition of sustainability can re-emerge; long-term relevance. The more we embrace the concept of long-term relevance, the more we embrace the role that key drivers such as diversity and innovation can play in sustainability.

 

Imma Boada kicked off the Panel debate discussing the importance of daylight in sustainability and the benefits of utilising natural daylight highlighting a number of case studies which prove that expose to natural light improves workplace performance. 

 

 

Dave Taylor followed with an overview responsible sourcing of construction materials discussing BES 6001 and Tata steel Europe and the benefits to the business of responsible sourcing.

 

 

 

Carol Atherton discussed the sustainability requirements of Clients and designers from a specialist Contractors perspective. Carol advised “Sustainable development and innovation is a key component today in construction, and our clients always require evidence and information on this topic so I hope to have offered some pointers as to how important this subject is for Avonside and the clients we aim to provide roofing works to.”

 

 

 

Helen Clement whose job role is to ensure that Morgan Sindall adds social value in the communities we work discussed supply chain sustainability is both an Enterprise Advisor and a STEM Ambassador.

 

She stated “My particular focus is on inspiring the next generation through educational engagement” and encouraged the WinR delegates to look at doing the same.

 

 

 

NFRC CEO James Talman than invited questions for the panellists and provoked some lively debate regarding sustainability in the industry.

 

True sustainability means being relevant to your people and your community, your business and market and above all to your customers, in the long-term and on each level. This is the original definition of sustainability.

 

If we move away from sustainability meaning green or CSR a much more powerful definition of sustainability can re-emerge; long-term relevance. The more we embrace the concept of long-term relevance, the more we embrace the role that key drivers such as diversity and innovation can play in sustainability.

 

Honor Goodsite- the Considerate Constructors new female mascot was also in attendance at the event.

 

Honor Goodsite promotes all that is great about the industry, helping to raise awareness and inspire young children to consider a career in construction when they grow up, as well as delivering important messages about children’s safety around construction sites. She joins the hugely successful industry mascot Ivor Goodsite, a site manager who was introduced by the Scheme in 2003 and has since then visited over 26,000 school children across the UK in the last twelve months.

 

 

 

Speaker - Inspiring Excellence

 

 

The afternoon session was closed out by Lowri Morgan. Lowri who is an athlete and a presented delivered an inspirational presentation about overcoming fear, never giving up and succeeding against all odds.

 

Trying to describe Lowri Morgan's achievements in a few words is to do her a great injustice.

 

She offered some amazing stories and anecdotes and was very well received by all delegates who had many questions for her after her presentation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conference Feedback:

 

Attendee Francoise of Midland Lead commented:

“The sessions were interactive discussions rather than lectures so we all gained a great deal from it. We looked at how perceptions of the industry are causing it to be sidelined as a career choice by the millennial generation and how this can be worked on as we address the diversity gap.”

 

Conference Speaker Carol Atherton commented:

"First, let me congratulate WinR for this years Conference and I wish you every success in the future"

 

Conference Speaker Imma Boada commented:

"Thanks for such an interesting and well organised Conference"

 

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Conference attendee Sophia Pudge- Technical Area Representative at Moy Materials commented “I was so honoured to be part of The Women in Roofing 2nd Annual Conference at Radisson Blu East Midlands it was a great success.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday 10th March 2017

Second Annual Conference of Women in Roofing

 

 

 

 

The Radisson Blu Hotel  East  Midlands Airport   DE74 2TZ

The Radisson Blu Hotel has been chosen for its central location,
its excellent facilities and responsible business policy.