College lecturer, Julie named as construction industry influencer
A Walsall College lecturer has been named by the National Federation of Builders as one of the 100 most influential women in construction.
Julie Newton, who began her college teaching career four years ago attended a ceremony in Birmingham celebrating women across the construction sector. The Top 100 aims to spotlight women and non-binary individuals in the industry, enhancing visibility and accessibility to role models.
A personal development, behaviour and welfare lecturer for brickwork and construction multi-skills students, Julie’s influencer status acknowledges her ability to deliver an ‘all round’ education and training experience to her 60 students each year.
Her teaching approach involves arranging for local employers to deliver skills and industry-based practical activities to students in class and on site. This is in addition to providing her students with enrichment sessions, ongoing careers advice and job search support.
On receiving the award, Julie said: “It’s such an honour to be recognised by the industry in such a special and inspiring way.
“It’s also humbling. I don’t do all this work to receive praise. It’s just me wanting to do a good job.”
Julie joined the further education sector after two decades representing Walsall’s local education authority as an exclusions and reintegration manager and lead education professional.
Her many initiatives to engage with her current students have included ‘teach the teacher’ sessions where she and her colleagues developed bricklaying, electrical installation and plumbing skills from their learners.
Working with Interclass, Taylor Wimpey, Harper Group, Keepmoat Homes and Lovell Homes, students have benefitted from site tours and careers talks.
Julie, now an Advanced Practitioner at the college continued: “I’m passionate about equity within the construction industry and would love to see more women and non-binary individuals working in the sector, especially in brickwork where they are particularly under-represented.
“I’m also keen to develop and share best practice with my peers so that learners are equipped with the skills and confidence to thrive in the workplace and achieve their potential.
“As a lecturer, I believe it’s important that you don’t rest on your laurels. There are always new ideas to bring to life, different activities students can try and employers who can invest in emerging talent.
“This award is validation that I’m on the right track with all I’m doing and hope to do in future.”
Julie was nominated for the Influencer Award by Sara Barnes from construction company, Interclass who have been managing a building extension project at the college’s Green Lane campus. Preconstruction and marketing manager, Sara was also included on the Top 100 list and was a finalist in the Local Hero – Midlands category.
She said: “I was delighted to nominate Julie for these awards. I have seen first-hand how she has gone above and beyond to ensure that her students are getting the most out of their college experience. By building strong relationships with contractors like us, she creates invaluable opportunities for students to visit construction sites and gain essential industry insights.
“Now more than ever, it’s crucial to welcome diverse perspectives into the industry, and bridge the gap between education and employment. Julie recognises the pivotal role she plays in not only facilitating this transition but also in creating an inclusive environment for the next generation of construction workers by encouraging and supporting more women into construction.”