News Update

Oswestry housebuilder part of All-Party Parliamentary Group Initiative to Increase Women in Housebuilding and Shift Public Perception

Housebuilder campaign

An Oswestry housebuilder has been selected to represent female housebuilders at The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for SME Housebuilders to launch a new campaign designed to increase the number of women in the housebuilding industry – ‘I am a Housebuilder’, to coincide with Women’s History Month.

Charlotte Edwards from Oswestry runs family firm Dennis Edwards Homes, building 15 houses per year locally and is passionate about encouraging other women into the industry.

The APPG for SME Housebuilders is a cross-party forum building political consensus to create the best environment for regional SME housebuilders to thrive, and to encourage new entrants to gain a foothold in the sector.

 

The background

In 2008 there were over 11,000 SME housebuilders and today, post the Global Economic Crisis, there are believed to be no more than 2,000, of which less than 2% are owned and led by women. Currently, there are also only 297,000 women working in construction across the UK, compared to 1.8 million men, with just 1% of women working as a skilled trades professional.

The housebuilding industry has an image problem. As an historically male dominated sector, housebuilding has not been viewed by women as an attractive profession, and more recently, the CMA investigation into alleged market fixing and cartel-type behaviour by the UK’s largest housebuilders, has dented the reputation of the sector, which plays a vital role in the British economy. SMEs in particular provide a wealth of benefits to the regional economies where they operate, such as prioritising local supply chains and employing local apprentices, which further highlights the need to shift public perception and bring balance and diversity to the sector.

 

Part of the solution: I am a Housebuilder

In response, the APPG for SME Housebuilders has launched a new initiative designed to attract more women into the housebuilding sector. The initiative is being driven by the APPG’s new secretariat, Edwin de Silva, an industry veteran and Co-Chair for the Regional Builders Hub Steering Group in support of The King’s Foundation and Chair of the APPG, Andrew Lewer MBE, Member of Parliament Northampton South.

The campaign is being led by seven of the foremost female SME housebuilding founders and Managing Directors, dubbed the Magnificent Seven Housebuilders. These women are all leading highly successful development businesses and they are committed to mentoring and supporting more women to become SME housebuilders.

They include Sarah Barraclough, Managing Director, Skipton Properties, Rosey Cassidy, Director, Newman Rose, Charlotte Edwards, Managing Director, Dennis Edwards Homes, Sophie Horgan, Director, Horgan Homes, Georgina Hammond, Co-Founder and Director, Beau Property, Alice Maughan, Creative Director and Designer, Stronghold Homes and Xuan Meng, Founder and Director, Cosy Hauz. (Full biographies below).

The I am a Housebuilder campaign will focus on the below three pledges, which will be rolled out throughout 2024 and will culminate in an industry networking event in Parliament, to bring politicians, partners, allies and female housebuilders together.

The pledges:

  • Increase visibility of successful women within the sector to attract more women to apply for roles.
  • Create a senior mentoring network to help women into leadership positions.
  • Work in partnership with trade bodies and organisations to positively promote the sector to women of all ages, when recruiting from apprenticeship to the board room.

Andrew Lewer, Chair of the APPG, behind the new initiative, comments:

“We need to reshape the public perception of the housebuilding industry. The antiquated view held by some is harming the future growth of the industry – preventing us from seeing diversity, causing a skills shortage and depriving the industry from accessing a pool of incredible talent. We want to put an end to this once and for all. It’s time for the industry and the legislature to work together to reverse the decline of SME housebuilders and encourage more women into the sector. By increasing diversity, we will open this great industry to more innovation and growth, which will be a major step towards rebalancing the housebuilding sector as a whole.”


Charlotte Edwards, Managing Director, Dennis Edwards Homes:

“I was thrilled to be approached to join this initiative. Although it is a male-dominated environment, I have found my place in this industry. I believe women bring a unique set of characteristics to housebuilding, including multi-tasking, creativity and empathy which can only benefit the end customer.

“I look forward to continuing my work, speaking at industry events to inspire and educate other aspiring female housebuilders. My purpose is greater than myself and I intend to hold the door open to other women who want to join me in this industry and do my part to help solve the housing crisis we currently face in the UK.”

 

The Magnificent Seven Housebuilders will be appearing on the Regional & Bespoke (R&B) Developers Forum on the 19th March at 3.30pm.

For those looking to get involved in the campaign or attend the Regional & Bespoke (R&B) Developers Forum please contact: [email protected] or visit: www.appgsmehousebuilders.org

 

 

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