Building firms have been urged to make the most of the skills which female workers can offer, by supporting a new Government campaign.

Ministers have launched the #NotJustForBoys initiative, in an effort to encourage young women to enter sectors which may have been dominated by men in the past.

This campaign will aim to tackle the stereotypes which are still sometimes applied to industries like construction and manufacturing.

Speaking in support of the scheme, Employment Minister Esther McVey said as many as 12 million new job opportunities could emerge in areas of the economy like the engineering and building trades over the coming 10 years.

She added: “Despite a record number of women in work, they are still under-represented in many of the industries, for example engineering, science and construction, where they can be the role models in traditionally male-dominated jobs for the next generation.”

In a speech made as part of a jobs road show in the West Midlands, the politician said that up to 150,000 new start-up businesses would be created, if women set companies up at the same rate as men.

It is estimated that around 260,000 women work within the UK’s construction sector at present, with this figure rising by 14,000 over the last 12 months or so.

In the West Midlands alone, roughly 18,000 women are thought to be employed by building firms.

In national terms, official data has previously shown that a record 14.4 million women are now employed across all industries.

During the Birmingham event, Ms McVey said that today’s women are increasingly benefiting from career options which their mothers and grandmothers would have struggled to gain.

But she said that in order to fully break down barriers, the perceptions of industries like construction still have to change.

Rather than only knowing about Bob the Builder, the minister concluded that she wants young children to learn about the work of “Becky the Builder” as well.

Employers and young women are now being encouraged to voice their support for diverse workforces by following the #NotJustForBoys campaign on social networking site Twitter.