About WEST

The WEST Fund was established in memory of Ros Wall who died in 2010. She was instrumental in setting up a range of local and national projects to encourage women and girls to take up careers in non-traditional roles in science, engineering, technology and the built environment.

Annette Williams who died in 2017 was also instrumental in local, national and international projects supporting women in non-traditional trades and engineering. Annette, who kindly left WEST a legacy in her will, led the UK Resource Centre for Women in SET funded by the UK Government and set up in 2004. Funding was stopped in 2011.

Their lives are remembered through the continuing work of WEST. Annette and Ros were both founders and workers at Sheffield’s inspirational Gwenda’s Garage in the 1980s along with Ros Wollen, Trustee at WEST.

Over the last 30 years, there have been strong links in Sheffield between women and manual trades. Many women have been self-employed, and there have also been some groundbreaking initiatives in women’s education, including the Women’s Furniture Workshop at Sheffield College, the WiSET team at Sheffield Hallam University and the Women’s Construction Centre under the auspices of the South Yorkshire Women’s Development Trust and then WICAT (Women in Construction Arts and Technology). Sadly all of these projects have closed due to lack of funding. WEST survives as the need remains for support in job opportunities and training for women and girls in non-traditional trades and engineering. Progress is still hard to achieve.

Construction News Oct. 2023 reported that only 15.8% of women and girls worked in the construction trades However these women and girls were mostly employed in Project management or worked in the offices. Based on ONS estimates March 2023 estimates for women in the trades were around 2%. The number was actually too small to give a reliable figure.

WEST is a charity and voluntary organisation run by a group of trustees, some of whom have been involved in this area since the 1980s.

Read our past annual and work reports. You can find our more recent annual reports and accounts on the Charity Commission Website (Charity Number 1152219)

Bursaries

Every year WEST makes small bursaries to give practical support to women and girls who are already learning or working in a non-traditional role or would like to start education or training in a non-traditional career.

For the last seven years, the bursary money has been raised through an annual film night at Sheffield Hallam University. In 2019 we added a second fundraising event – with entertainment and food in June, also at Sheffield Hallam University.

Please donate online now to our great cause (or contact Pat Morton at patriciamaymorton@btinternet.com or Ros Wollen on 07941141126).

Outreach work

Since 2013 WEST has worked with several partners in the Sheffield Region to design and develop a range of outreach programmes to encourage girls and women into non-traditional subjects and careers.

WEST has also developed resources for Primary Schools that show kids a range of construction and engineering careers…and the women who work in these jobs. The books are full of activities and quizzes. They were developed in conjunction with Science Education Specialists at Sheffield Hallam University.

WEST continues to develop resources for schools and we are currently working with with secondary schools in the Sheffield City region with a series of new posters.

We have worked closely in partnership with local partners

  • WiSET (Women in Science, Engineering and Technology – now retired)  and Sheffield Hallam University
  • WICAT (Women in Construction, Arts and Technology) at the Women’s Construction Centre, Sheffield
  • The Women’s Furniture Making Workshop and The Sheffield College

Funders

WEST would like to thank these funders for their support:

Between 2015 and 2016, WEST worked closely with The Sheffield College to support its European Mind the Gap project.

WEST's aims

WEST’s constitution states that our aims are:

“To advance the education of women and girls in the subjects of science, engineering, technology, the built environment and with particular focus on craft and trade skills so that they may pursue non-traditional careers in these subject areas. This will be through the provision of an annual bursary scheme to support students and by supporting and promoting projects and organisations in South Yorkshire that work to encourage women and girls into non traditional subjects and careers through outreach and liaison work.”