Wagner: Number of women in construction increases

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It was a rough end to the school holidays for many in Christchurch with homes, businesses and streets under water, or very close to it.

Sometimes it seems like our city just can’t catch a break. But, on the upside, we’ve got our response down to a fine art.

The mayor declared a state of emergency early; Civil Defence acted quickly and decisively to keep people and property out of harm’s way; and the New Zealand Defence Force, volunteers and a whole host of other agencies swung into action.

The latest Greater Christchurch Dashboard — Women in Construction contains some really positive news for Christchurch and the rebuild/regeneration process.

The number of women working in both residential and non-residential construction in Canterbury has increased from 3400 in March 2010 to 7600 in March 2017 — a 124 per cent increase. More and more women are embracing rebuild opportunities by entering and succeeding in this traditionally male-dominated industry. Women can bring a fresh perspective, strengthen customer relations, add diversity and improve business performance.

The Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team, which was responsible for repairing Christchurch’s quake-damaged infrastructure, proactively encouraged women into its workforce through the SCIRT Women in Construction working group. Between 2014 and 2015, the number of women in crew roles at SCIRT doubled from six to 12 per cent.

With a skills shortage around the country, it’s great to see more women in construction — it provides new opportunities for women and their families, and it makes good business sense, benefitting Christchurch and New Zealand economically.

•Nicky Wagner is Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration

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