Breaking Barriers: Empowering Women in the Construction Industry

May 8, 2023

It takes a great deal of courage for young women to step out of their comfort zones and pursue a career in an industry that is historically male-dominated. Despite the challenges, a group of young women has managed to show up and put their best foot forward. The Advanced Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Mentorship Program has provided a supportive environment for these young women to learn and develop the skills necessary to succeed in the construction industry.

The construction industry is a rapidly growing sector that offers diverse career opportunities, from architecture to engineering to technical trades. Unfortunately, women have been historically underrepresented in this field. The Advanced TVET Mentorship Program aims to change this by providing practical exposure to sites, construction value-chain opportunities, and career development resources.

Through the program, the mentees have learned valuable skills and gained practical experience in the construction industry. They have worked with experienced mentors, participated in hands-on training, and developed a network of supportive colleagues. These young women have acquired skills that will set them apart in the workplace and pave the way for future generations of women to follow.

The program has been more than just building technical skills. It has been about building confidence and empowering young women to pursue their dreams in the construction industry. The graduates committed their entire weekends for 6 weeks to attend and participate in the soft and hard skills training. By doing so, they have proven that with determination and a supportive community, they have what it takes to succeed.

“As the graduates move forward in their careers, it is important to continue seeking out opportunities for growth and development. They should take on new challenges, continue to push themselves out of their comfort zones, and never stop learning. The construction industry is constantly evolving and changing, and it is essential to continue to learn, grow, and develop skills”, remarked the UNDP Botswana Country Office Resident Representative, Mr Balazs Horvath at the Networking and Graduation Ceremony held in Gaborone recently. 

Balazs said it is important to emphasize the importance of supporting women in industries such as these. He explained that by participating in this mentorship program, we have taken a crucial step towards creating a more diverse and inclusive construction industry. He also remarked that women and girls represent half of the world’s population and, therefore, also half of its potential. Empowering women spurs productivity and economic growth. Women have a critical role to play in all of the SDGs, with many targets specifically recognizing women’s equality and empowerment as both the objective and part of the solution.

Balazs congratulated the graduates of the Advanced TVET Mentorship Program and said that “they are an inspiration to us all, and we look forward to seeing all that they will accomplish in the years to come”. The UNDP is proud to have been one of the supporters of the development and enhancement of women in the construction industry through this program. 

Let us continue to break down barriers and empower women in all industries.


Pilot Mentorship for Female TVET Students and Recent TVET Graduates in the Construction Sector

UNDP is providing support to the Advance TVET Mentorship Programme which is implemented with several partners in the private sector, civil society, the Botswana Government and Educational Training Providers (ETPs). The programme was launched in July 2022, with a signing MOU ceremony between the implementing partners. The objective is to create a Mentorship Programme lead by the private sector, where female TVET students and recent TVET graduates receive mentoring and guidance from professionals, preferably female, in the construction sector in their role as mentors and trainers. Such a programme will enhance the soft skills as well as labour market relevant skills (self and non-self-employment) of young graduates to prepare them well for industry/work life and support their positioning in the construction industry. The pilot programme is focused on women in a male-dominated industry. The programme seeks to develop a Mentorship Partnership with private sector to transfer skills (hard and soft) and knowledge between professionals and graduates.


Development of Hard & Soft skills for graduates to increase employability and ability to create jobs. 

Connecting learners/graduates to industry

Raising awareness of TVET skills and the need for young women to be involved in the field.

Develop graduates in TVET for readiness to industry. 

Establish a Technical Vocational Education Training mentorship programme that can obtain accreditation. 

Development of Framework programme which can become integrated into mainstream academic programmes, and as well as be replicated into other sectors.


Botswana Women in Construction Organisation (BOWICO)

Young Minds Africa (YMA)

Business Botswana (BB)

Construction Industry Trust Fund (CITF)

Tshwaragano Brigade / Kgatleng Brigade Centre

Human Resource Development Council (HRDC)

Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MESD)

Gesellschaft für International Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)