In March, in line with the International Women’s Day celebrations, our internal women’s network Welink UK, and our social value team worked together to launch our Girls Believe Academy.
At Bouygues Construction United Kingdom, we believe it is crucial to promote the vast range of exciting opportunities available to students when they choose to study Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects. This is why we have launched our Girls Believe Academy. Our objective is to attract more women into the Construction and Engineering industry by showing them how vibrant, diverse and exhilarating the industry is and all it can do for girls pursuing their ambitions.
Despite progress in ensuring opportunities for women in STEM fields, women and girls continue to be systematically underrepresented as users and leaders in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. At the moment, there still are fewer girls than boys who choose to follow a career in STEM. Many girls will not have even considered construction or engineering as an option. Perhaps this is because these girls are not aware of all the women already in the business to whom they could aspire. Perhaps it is as a result of the misconceptions associated with these roles. We are hoping that through our work, we will help to smash these stereotypes, defy gender bias and defeat the discrimination which currently hinders women and girls from entering the STEM fields.
Over the course of two weeks, 26 colleagues from across Bouygues Construction UK helped deliver a virtual event to launch our Girls Believe Academy. Over 350 children across 10 schools have participated so far and we hope to run more of these events in the future.
The morning consisted of an interactive presentation given by both women and men from our own businesses to demonstrate the diversity of roles we offer. We partnered with online e-learning and community hub Aspire2Be, who have helped us develop our Virtual Work Experience platform as well as creating our Minecraft ‘Buildathon’ challenge, both launched with alongside the Girls Believe initiative.
Amelle Mestari, Procurement Director and Chair of Welink UK said: “This event would never have been possible without our Girls Believe Ambassadors who volunteered to take part with exceptional enthusiasm and passion for the cause. They have been key in inspiring children to believethat they can be whatever they want if they set their mind to it. We hope that the students we spoke to were inspired by what our colleagues, as well as other women in the industry, have been able to achieve.”
Fabienne Viala, Chair of Bouygues Construction UK said: “As a woman who has worked my way up in the industry, I feel passionate about breaking down the bias that currently prohibits girls from studying STEM subjects. I am so proud of the work being done by the Girls Believe Ambassadors to accelerate this change in attitude. It would be amazing to see more women choosing a career in construction and engineering following their time with the Girls Believe Academy.”
Diana Ciobotaru, Social Value Graduate Trainee and Welink Events Coordinator said: “We’d like to thank the schools for agreeing to be part of this amazing initiative. We are looking forward to continuing collaborating with more schools and students in our next events. These events are a great way to encourage, empower and inspire young people to then become our talent of tomorrow!”