Women remain underrepresented in construction and the nuclear industry. New projects like Hinkley Point C are a chance to make progress against the Government’s ambition for 40% women working in the civil nuclear sector by 2030. That means helping more women to join the industry and support those already in it so that they can stay and develop their careers.
Hinkley Point C’s approach spans from encouraging girls still at school to consider careers in the industry to getting the culture right at work, so that everyone feels welcome and valued.
There are some encouraging signs but there’s still a long way to go. EDF Energy’s apprentices at Hinkley Point C are 40% female – a substantial improvement against industry averages.
International Women’s Day was chosen for the launch of the project’s Women’s Network and for as many people as possible to pledge their support for diversity. The Women’s Network is a group of like-minded people who want to support, retain and inspire women as part of a more diverse workforce.
Anne Lawrence, a Hinkley Point C worker and network member said: “What people may not realise is that diverse teams are actually safer and perform better because members feel respected and able to share their opinions. We have an opportunity here on site to see more women represented in the construction industry across all levels.”
The project is also thinking about how to support parents and carers so that women and men can manage their responsibilities and carry on working without feeling disadvantaged. Seemingly small things like making sure safety and outdoor clothing is available in women’s sizes also add up to make a difference.
Hinkley Point C depends on finding and training talented people so it’s important that no-one is left out of the search for skilled people. That’s why we are helping recruiters learn how to avoid unconscious bias. Having a more open-minded approach to recruitment and development, and being more welcoming of difference, can only make our project stronger and safer.