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GIRLS BEHAVING CONSTRUCTIVELY, CARDIFF

To mark National Construction Week 2004, ‘Girls Behaving Constructively’ was run at the Museum of Welsh Life, St Fagans on Wednesday 13th October.

The all girl event was designed to give a practical insight to the construction industry through the ages. The day attracted 70 year 9 girls from 7 schools across South East Wales, Newbridge, West Mon and Oakdale from Gwent, Heolddu from Mid Glamorgan and Llanishen, St Teilo's and St Richard Gwyn RC School from Cardiff and the Vale.

The programme was split into three parts with groups visiting individual sites so all the pupils had an opportunity to see or try all the activities.

The first section was a demonstration of traditional skills by staff from the National Museum, these included lime slaking, traditional woodworking and stone tiling. Following this the girls were given the opportunity to learn some of these ancient skills through hands-on activities such a plastering, site levelling and wattle and daubing. This part of the day proved to be very popular with pupils saying 'it was great to get in and do stuff that we could not try in school’ and ‘plastering was really hard but it was great when I got the hang of it and it started to stick'

The final section of the day brought the girls right up to date with the modern construction industry. As one of the most experienced Construction Ambassadors, Emma Bull, a Quantity Surveyor with E. Turner & Sons the regional contracting arm of contractor Willmott Dixon, was able to tell these pupils about her day to day experiences working as part of a team on major local projects.

Emma, a local girl herself, was able to empathise with the youngsters regarding their career choices and give them an insight as to how she decided the construction industry was for her and the success she has made from her choice. The event was further enhanced by an additional female role model for the pupils to question and discuss options with. Louise Howell who is again a Quantity Surveyor working for Faithful and Gould was there to represent her professional body, the RICS, and accompanied the groups as they toured the site again offering information from her own experience of the industry.

The day was completed by Emma and Byron Jones, the CITB Construction Skills careers and education adviser for the region, running a Tetrahedron project.
This involved the pupils constructing a 4 metre high pyramid shaped Tetrahedron out of nothing more than short sticks and elastic bands. The girls were amazed by what they had achieved by using simple building technology.

In summing up the day the pupils all agreed they had a great time and thanked all those involved for their hard work. Merlith Thomas, head of careers at Heolddu School, Bargoed said the day was a ‘huge hit with the girls’ and they ‘loved the chance to have a real go at building things’. The careers co-ordinator from St Richard Gwyn RC said it was such a good day they could fill their numbers three times over if we ran it again! back