In light of some recent high-profile campaigns and protests it has become clear that as a society, women still face underlying discrimination in certain industries, being seen by some as inferior and incompetent. The Landscape and Construction Industries offer a wide range of job opportunities and many women in landscaping love it. However, there are many more who are interested in careers but are wary to step into the environment and commit, due to their perception of male dominance.
As a woman who’s worked in different sectors of the construction industry for over 20 years, I admit I’ve had my fair share of male-dominated views and the behaviour, discrimination, and harassment that comes with it. At The Landscape Academy, we fully understand that landscaping can be perceived as an intimidating environment to start in, but there have been huge leaps and advances/changes in attitudes in the built environment thanks to the tenacity of the women who have stuck with the sector and come through the other side.
There are many highly successful and influential women in the landscape industry from directors of large and flourishing businesses, those playing key roles in management, designers, and entrepreneurs. Women are also an influential part of landscaping associations such as The Chartered Institute of Horticulture and the RHS. The APL will also be showcasing just how inclusive and diverse this wonderful sector is later this year when Holly Youde of Urban Landscape Design Ltd takes the role of Chairwoman. Holly said “I would like to think that taking on this position will encourage other women to put themselves forward through all levels of the wider industry and be recognised for their achievements and skill. I believe lack of confidence is a key factor and anything the APL and The Landscape Academy can do to build women’s confidence will hopefully generate more long-term opportunities in the sector”.
The growing evidence of women taking the lead at the helm of the landscaping industry business bodes well for the further development of a more inclusive environment. There is a definite shift in perceptions, which is filtering through all sectors of the industry at all levels, and we’re now starting to see more women in the physical side of landscape construction.
Here at The Landscape Academy, we do not discriminate against anyone, and actively encourage women to take part in all our courses. All our courses have been developed by a mixed-gender team, with the aim of teaching all aspects of landscaping to all individuals, no matter their ability or gender.
It’s been a difficult year and at the Academy and we’ve had to reduce the number of courses and learners we could accept. However, we were super excited to recently welcome our first female landscape learner, Hattie of Goode Construction & Landscaping, who was instantly put at ease by our team. We’ve also had Claire, from our sister company Urban Landscape Design Ltd, through our training doors. Claire is Urban’s first female landscape operative and definitely won’t be last. In preparation for the upcoming Gardener’s World Live event at the NEC, Birmingham, Claire and our director Mark went along to help out at The APL’s ‘What Lies Beneath’ garden. Claire is extremely passionate about the industry and has been greatly encouraged by how welcoming the landscaping community has been. Claire said, “Entering such a male-dominated industry, particularly as an operative, was an intimidating thought, but now I’m here I couldn’t be happier and I am grateful to Urban for such a positive and friendly welcome”.
The Landscape Academy will continue developing and supporting women from all backgrounds to help them gain knowledge, confidence, and experience. We can’t wait for them to see what a wonderfully exciting and welcoming sector this is to work in. All our courses are open to women as well as men, however, we do understand that in some cases, some may prefer to learn with their own gender. As a result, we do run women-only classes to help provide an environment that everyone feels comfortable in. If you’re interested in attending a women’s only class, please drop us an email at [email protected] or call 01829 740194.