A leading Midlands housebuilder is spearheading an inspirational nationwide campaign to encourage more women into careers in construction.

Sophie Horgan, director of Bromsgrove-based Horgan Homes, is one of the “Magnificent Seven” female constructors chosen to launch the “I am a Housebuilder” campaign at the House of Commons last month.

The campaign, by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for SME Housebuilders, is designed to increase the number of women in the housebuilding industry.

Sophie said: “Just two per cent of SME housebuilding companies are owned and led by women, and there are just 297,000 women working in the industry in the UK compared to 1.8 million men – and only one per cent of those work as a skilled trades professional.

“I have always used my profile to encourage young women to consider a career in construction and to show what opportunities are available, so I’m delighted to be included in the Magnificent Seven.

“There is no reason why women can’t have good and fulfilling careers in construction. At a time when the whole industry is crying out for skilled tradespeople, the opportunities are huge.

“Girls still hear the message that building trades are for boys, or construction isn’t the place for girls, and that is frustrating because it’s just not true. The I am a Housebuilder campaign aims to change the messaging, and not before time.”

Sophie completed an HND then a degree in construction before starting in a junior role of her father’s building company. Since taking over the day to day running of the business, she has transformed Horgan Homes into one of the region’s premier housebuilding companies as well as launching its sister business, Horgan Commercial, to develop non-residential properties.

Under Sophie’s guidance, Horgan Homes has won multiple awards and earned a reputation for quality craftsmanship coupled with 21st century innovation to create beautiful traditional homes which are energy efficient and practical.

The company specialises in small developments in exclusive locations, mainly around its West Midlands base. Horgan has also moved into the East Midlands with a new development in Mareham-le-Fen in Lincolnshire.

As one of the seven foremost female SME housebuilding leaders in the UK, Sophie is one of seven women spearheading the campaign, alongside Sarah Barraclough, managing director of Skipton Properties, Rosey Cassidy, director of Newman Rose, Charlotte Edwards, managing director of Dennis Edwards Homes, Georgina Hammond, co-founder and director of Beau Property, Alice Maughan, creative director and designer of Stronghold Homes and Xuan Meng, founder and director of Cosy Hauz.

All seven women are leading successful development businesses and are committed to mentoring and supporting more women to become SME housebuilders.

The I am a Housebuilder campaign will focus on three pledges, which will be rolled out throughout 2024 and will culminate in an industry networking event in Parliament, bringing politicians, partners, allies and female housebuilders together.

The pledges are:

Increase the visibility of successful women within the sector to attract more women to apply for roles

Create a senior mentoring network to help women into leadership positions

Work in partnership with trade bodies and organisations to positively promote the sector to women of all ages, when recruiting from apprenticeship to the board room

The APPG for SME Housebuilders is a cross-party forum, building political consensus to create the best environment for regional SME housebuilders to thrive.

Andrew Lewer, chair of the APPG, said: “We need to reshape the public perception of the housebuilding industry. The antiquated view held by some is harming the future growth of the industry, preventing us from seeing diversity, causing a skills shortage and depriving the industry from accessing a pool of incredible talent. We want to put an end to this once and for all.”