ECA Skills Ambassador wins inaugural First Women Award

Diane Johnson, Skills Ambassador for the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA), has become the first ever winner of Real Business and the CBI’s First Women Award for the Built Environment.

The accolade is in recognition of her ground-breaking work in transforming the electrical industry through the ECA’s pioneering initiative, Wired for Success: ECA Women into Electrical Contracting, which aims to encourage more women into the electrical sector. Johnson’s award also acknowledges her achievements as the first ever female president of the ECA in its 110-year history.

Founded in 2005 by Real Business and the CBI, the First Women Awards recognise trailblazing women who are laying the foundations for the next generation of female talent.

Johnson collected the honour from Sports presenter, Clare Balding at a ceremony on 28 June, attended by guests including Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, Theresa May, and CBI president Sir Roger Carr. Judges of the awards, which included The White Company founder Chrissie Rucker, Taylor Wimpey CEO Pete Redfern and Wilful Blindness author Margaret Heffernan, described her as “an outstanding woman on every level, who is actively making a difference to the lives of women across the UK.”

Johnson was joined by an impressive group of finalists representing the Built Environment:

-    Katrina Dowding, Operations Director, Skanska
-    Keeley Downing, Joint Managing Director, Crown Utilities
-    Amanda Fisher, Managing Director, Corporate Services, Balfour Beatty
-    Julie White, Managing Director, D-Drill

Johnson says: “Being shortlisted for this award was an honour, but to win against such stiff competition is absolutely fantastic. I am delighted that Wired for Success has been recognised as a ground-breaking and vital programme for the industry. And I am proud that the ECA has been recognised as a real agent for change and leadership in the sector.”

She continues: “The scheme is already changing the lives of the women taking part, and has the potential to be replicated across the country. Its aim is simple: to encourage more people from under-represented groups to join the workforce. And as a blueprint for success, it could be applied to many other skilled industries. I hope that winning this award will take Wired for Success to a wider audience of like-minded organisations who will look to replicate the model in their own sectors.”

Wired for Success is a London-based pilot project, supported by principal partner, social housing association L&Q. The participants receive theory training from training partner EAS Education, while contractor partners Axis Europe, Mulalley, and Smith and Byford provide practical on-site experience.

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