Skipton Properties MD heads up ‘I am a…

Skipton Properties MD heads up ‘I am a Housebuilder’ campaign

THE head of building firm Skipton Properties is part of a campaign aimed at encouraging more women into the traditionally male-dominated industry.

Sarah Barraclough, managing director of Cross Hills based Skipton Properties, is one of seven female housebuilders leading the national ‘I am a Housebuilder’ campaign which aims to help break down barriers for women wanting to get into the sector.

Launched by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for small to medium enterprises (SMEs) housebuilders, it has three key 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.

Currently, fewer than two per cent of SME housebuilding firms are owned and led by women, and just 297,000 women compared to 1.8 million men are employed in construction roles across the UK.

Ms Barraclough said: “The housebuilding industry has immense potential for growth and innovation, yet it remains hamstrung by outdated perceptions and a significant gender imbalance.

“Through the ‘I am a Housebuilder’ campaign, we aim to demolish these barriers, inspiring and empowering more women to join and lead in this field.”

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, MP Andrew Lewer.

Mr Lewer said: “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.” The campaign’s pledges are to increase the visibility of successful women within the sector, establishing a senior mentoring network, and collaborating with trade bodies to promote the industry to women of all ages.

Women bring different perspectives to the table, along with empathy, attention to detail and creativity. If the UK is to tackle the housing shortage head-on, then engaging more women will be crucial. I am a Housebuilder will challenge bias in the industry, seek to make it a more inclusive environment for female entrepreneurs and support and champion SME housebuilders.

Xuan Meng, founder and director of Cosy Hauz, said: “As the only first-generation housebuilder in this group, I really want to encourage more young, ambitious women who do not have a family background in construction, to enter this incredible industry.”