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Chesterfield Property and Construction Group calls on more professionals to join mentoring programme

Chesterfield Property and Construction Group calls on more professionals to join mentoring programme

The Chesterfield Property and Construction Group has welcomed Chesterfield Borough Council’s drive to increase skills and diversity across the sector.


The Group has now called for more construction and property professionals to join a sector specific mentoring programme in local schools and colleges.

Group members Whittam Cox Architects and construction company Robert Woodhead Ltd are supporting the successful Women in Construction mentoring programme which was established earlier this year by Chesterfield Borough Council and D2N2 North Derbyshire Careers Hub.

Currently there are nine mentors, however it is hoped that more will come forward and help inspire the next generation of construction and property workers.

Organised by Destination Chesterfield, the Chesterfield Property and Construction Group brings together leaders from the area’s property and construction sector to shape and drive forward collaboration, investment, sustainability and skills within Chesterfield.

Andrew Byrne, Property Development Director of Devonshire Property Group who hosted the recent Property and Construction Group meeting: said:

“We have identified the improvement of skills and diversity within the Chesterfield construction and property sector as a key focus for the group and Chesterfield over the next 12 months as we work with the town to help it realise its ambitions to become a place to live, work and invest both now and for future generations.”

Speaking at the event, Corinne Hall, a Chartered Architect and team leader at Whittam Cox Architects who is currently mentoring Chesterfield College mature student Heather Watton, said:

“Diversity is key in addressing the skills gap and enhancing the quality of our built environment. This is a sector that I love working in and being a mentor to women is helping to revolutionise the way in which females perceive the construction industry.”

Originally trained in hairdressing and beauty as

“it just wasn’t the done thing for girls to go into construction”, Heather is now training to become a quantity surveyor and studying a BTEC advanced certificate in Construction and the Built Environment at Chesterfield College. She hopes to become a mentor herself once qualified.

Heather (37), who has always had an interest in construction from watching her father renovate properties, explained: “Having a mentor has really boosted my confidence and empowered my decision making. I actually started to believe that I could make it. Corinne has listened to me and guided me all the way. I didn’t know what a mentor was at first, but now I hope that one day I am also able to become a mentor and be someone who can impart my own experience to someone in need.”

The Women in Construction mentoring programme works to help diminish the misconceptions of gender specific roles within property and construction. A targeted mentoring program has been put in place to highlight the many different roles available within the sector, that may not have been a consideration before, driving forward inclusivity.

It offers school and college students the opportunity to work with female leaders from across a broad range of disciplines in the property and construction sector where women currently make up just 14% of professional roles.

Councillor Amanda Serjeant, Deputy Leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, said:

“Improving the skills and work readiness of people in Chesterfield is our top priority as it plays such a crucial part in creating a thriving borough now and in the future.

“This programme is a great example of how, by working with our partners, we can strengthen the links between education and business, which will support more school leavers to develop the skills they need to enter the workplace.

“We want to raise aspirations in Chesterfield and show that it is a great place to plan your future and build a successful career. In particular, working with young women in sectors where they are underrepresented is key to ensuring our success and we would welcome more mentors to come forward and support this positive scheme.”

Andrew added:

“With more than £1 billion of construction projects taking place across Chesterfield right now, it is important that we address the skills gap immediately. As a group we have acknowledged that more can be done by us to improve diversity in the sector so we are undertaking research to further identify areas where we can make a real difference.”

Chesterfield Property and Construction Group brings together business leaders of the region’s property sector and Chesterfield Borough Council to shape and drive forward collaboration, investment, sustainability and skills within Chesterfield.

The next Chesterfield and Property Construction Group event will be held on the 22 September 2021 and will focus on sustainability.

For property and construction professionals who wish to find out more about becoming a mentor or would like to get involved with the Chesterfield Property and Construction Group, please email

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