Focus on: Females working in trades and heavy industry

Were you that girl that always asked your dad to help him put up the shelves or loved it when there was some Ikea furniture to assemble?

Perhaps you are considering a career change? Perhaps you are leaving school but are not attracted to roles in childcare, hospitality or management and don’t fancy university?

Increasingly there is a demand and this will only increase when immigration controls become tighter for work in the trades. The UK is reportedly undergoing a huge skills shortage, with too many jobs and too few workers particularly electricians, plumbers, carpenters and more.

Yet only 6% of females currently make up the workforce in certain trades. However, the more women who choose this path, the more women will enjoy the benefits of a career in trades and in turn mentor and encourage others to embark on this career path.

 

So, is it now the time for women to consider a career in the trades? The benefits of trade work can include;

  • Good pay and rates. Circa £50,000 per year for fully qualified full-time trade professionals.
  • Overtime payments and transport is often provided.
  • Constant demand which implies a job for life.
  • Apprenticeships in the trades mean that you earn whilst you learn and so you don’t qualify with the crippling student debt most university students face.
  • Tradespeople report high job satisfaction.

Also as you mature in your career there is often more opportunities for self-employment which can allow you more flexibility in the hours you work. If you think you might have a family or even presently do, you could chose to work in school hours or only during school term time.

If one concern stopping you learning and qualifying in a trade is anxiety about entering a male dominated environment, there are already companies whose USP is reliant on offering female only tradeswomen. ‘Stopcocks’, a plumbing business based in London offer accredited female plumbers to their large customer base. One website suggested, women needed to ‘prove’ themselves when they choose a career in trades’. We don’t believe this this is the case. Equality between the sexes is becoming the accepted norm today and Hattie Hasan, the founder of Stopcocks Women Plumbers said,  “Clients love to see females in any trade. There is a misconception that only women will use female plumbers.” Men in the workplace are increasingly acknowledging this and providing sound support to women pursuing their chosen trade.

Hattie recommends as a first step to check out the trade you are veering towards first. She says ‘It is hard and heavy work’ and recommends ‘taster days’ in the first instance. Colleges that run apprenticeships often work with trades companies and may be able to facilitate this for you. Or even ask someone you know who works in the trade and ask if they can set up a shadowing day or week for you. Alternatively, you could contact the CITB, the Construction Industry Training Board or similar training body for further information.

Good Luck!

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