I am a strong believer that no one should be stereotyped into specific roles and this includes the perception of men on the construction site’ – Jwerea Malik, operations manager at Balfour Beatty, and co-chair of the group’s Gender Equality Affinity Network.

 

After we spoke to our plumbing student, Leah Carney, and hearing her inspiring story, we’ve been determined to continue the dialogue surrounding women in the construction industry. 

Leah is an ambitious and driven individual: a designer who had taken to delivery driving for extra money, and then decided to train as a plumber at the outset of the pandemic. She is already qualified as a plumber, gaining new electrical qualifications, and setting up her own business. 

But Leah is just one of thousands of similarly hard-working people around the country who have made the construction industry their home and future. Over the pandemic, the construction industry has seemed to appeal to hard-working and skilled women, as a refuge from redundancy and an opportunity for a fulfilling career. According to Lianne Lawson, a construction manager who has been in the industry for 14 years:

 

The pandemic has taught all of us how quickly we can evolve and adapt to new ways of working, and I think the mindset for everyone has changed. [...] Having to work from home in many cases has opened the industry up to the possibility of more flexible working conditions.

 

It goes without saying that the construction industry should accommodate everybody who has a desire to work within it; and perhaps one inadvertent result of the pandemic is that this has happened. 

For decades, the construction industry has been perceived as a male-dominated industry. But hearing the stories of women in construction, we learn that the last decade or two has resulted in greater accessibility to footholds and successful careers for thousands of women across the UK. Since then, it has been exciting to witness the brilliant and essential contributions that women have made to the trade industry, only further demonstrating that there absolutely is a much-needed place for them within the sector.

 

When i joined the industry 10 years ago as a graduate engineer, I was, more often than not, the only woman in the room. I felt the pressure to be seen as a peer to my male colleagues. – Malik

 

Jwerea Malik also notes how, from being the only woman on a project, the industry has now developed to seeing 23% of new starters in construction being women. It’s refreshing to consider how far the construction industry has come in recent times, and these stories of success are a testimony to the freedoms and attitudes of today. 

But as important as it is to acknowledge and celebrate how far we’ve come in the construction industry, there is obviously further we can go in ensuring that everybody feels welcome, and to encourage everybody to contribute in a fast-growing and multi-faceted industry. Considering the skills shortages of today’s construction sector, and the huge demand for work, it only makes sense for the prosperity of the industry itself that we look for strong, skilled tradespeople from all aspects of society. 

 

I was considered a bit of a novelty, noticed more for my differences than the engineering skills and expertise we had in common. I felt I had to prove myself, not just in terms of delivering my work to the best of my ability, but to be seen as an equal to my teammates. The rarity of a woman on a construction site 10 years ago meant inclusion wasn’t second nature. – Malik

 

What’s more, it goes without saying that a successful business is an inclusive business. Those leaders of the trade who represent all aspects of society are those with a greater customer base, a broader image, and who ultimately thrive in a competitive market. It suits everybody to make sure that construction is not a career for the men only – frankly, why limit ourselves?

 

I think it was my own perception that I couldn’t do it, so I was trying to break that mentality, which the people around me helped to do’ – Lianne Lawson.

 

 

Success in the construction industry is all about ability, and should never be about any aspect of your gender and background. If you have an interest in joining the construction community, don’t hesitate; from an outsider perspective, it might look like a male-dominated environment, but as you can see, things are changing. It just takes some bravery, self-belief, and knowledge that you are judged on your ability and willingness to work, over any other factors.

Women in construction are no longer a novelty; they are essential to the industry’s future. Why not be a part of this future, and join women like Leah, Lianne, and Jwerea? It takes one call to Access Training to get your career on track.


Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

 

 

 

Recent research has once again highlighted the overwhelming lack of female electricians currently in the UK electrical industry.

According to TradeSparky, out of over 250k British electricians, only around 2000 are female. This figure equates to a shocking 1% of the entire contingent of electricians in the UK.

 

female electricians, women electricians

 

A Man’s World?

The figures highlight the fact that the tradesperson industry is a male-dominated field and one that is severely lacking in female participation.

Worse still, the pattern of a predominantly male workforce does nothing to spark female involvement and continues this trend further, as female uptake remains minimal.

However, the shocking stats don’t stop there. In addition to the inequality in gender employment, the imbalance also extends to the pay scale as well.

Further to the incredible disparity between male and female participation figures, there is also a gender pay gap of just over £3.5k.

Also according to TradeSparky, men receive an average annual wage of approximately £34.5 while women walk away with just under £31k.

 

Crossed Wires

Despite these male-skewed statistics, the tide is turning with each passing year with regards to equality in the workplace and the electrical trade does actually pose a great deal of opportunity for women looking to get into the manual trades profession.

In fact, when compared to average annual salary figures published by the Office of National Statistics, the average female electrician earns more than many other professions, such as legal associates (£29k), graphic designers (£27k), police community support officers (£27k), ambulance staff (£23k) and dental nurses (£18k).

What’s more, Direct Line for Business also revealed that 29% of UK adults would prefer to hire a woman to work on their home plumbing, if given the choice.

 

Electrician Training with Access Training UK

If you’re a woman looking to take those first steps into a career in the electrical trade, Access Training UK can help you get where you want to go.

With a wide variety of courses for all skill levels, our electrician courses are fundamentally designed to help you achieve your electrical goals at a pace that suits you.

Whether you’re a total novice that’s completely new to the business or an existing professional looking to add a few strings to your electrical bow, we have the course for you.

Check out the below for the full rundown of exactly what electrician courses we have available at Access Training UK.

 

New Career Courses

Perfect for those with little to no experience, our beginner courses include the following:

Essential Electrical Course

Professional Electrician Course

Premier Electrical Course

 

Trade Professional Courses

For the more seasoned professional, we offer the following courses, designed to expand your existing knowledge:

Part P Domestic Electrical Installer

18th Edition

Part P & 18th Edition

PAT Testing

Initial Verification

Periodic Inspection & Testing

Fundamental Inspection Testing

Combined Inspection & Testing

Electrical Design Course

 

For more information on any of the electrician courses listed above, why not drop us a line today? Call now on 0800 345 7492 or get in touch online by clicking the button below.

Contact Us

Trades For Women

How many women does it take to change a lightbulb?

One.

How many women does it take to install a state-of-the-art boiler system?

Still one, providing she’s had the appropriate training and gained the relevant qualifications.

Obviously.

The UK is currently undergoing a huge skills shortage, with too many jobs and too few workers (electricians, plumbers, carpenters, etc.) who are actually qualified to do them. This is putting a massive amount of pressure on the entire country; it’s something we hear about on the news, and it’s something we face when a pipe bursts and we actually have to find a plumber who can squeeze us into their busy schedule.

 

Britain is crying out for more people to learn these valuable skills. So why not women?

These industries have always been particularly male-dominated; when the words 'builder' and 'woman' are uttered in the same sentence, many people picture catcalls and wolf-whistles rather than a female bricklayer at work.

But why should this be case? Trade skills can lead to lucrative careers, and any determined, hardworking and intelligent person is more than capable of training up in one of these skills, regardless of their gender.

Lately, there has been an increase in the number of women entering these industries, hoping to benefit from all the same perks that tradesmen have been enjoying for years (e.g. good pay, rewarding work, choosing your own hours).

Gender equality within the trades won't change overnight - females currently make up just 6% of the workforce in certain trades, so it’s an uphill battle. However, the more women choose this path, the more women prove themselves just as capable as their male co-workers, and the more other women will feel encouraged to learn a trade themselves.

A fully-qualified woman is just as capable as a fully-qualified man, and therefore just as able to take advantage that this skills gap now provides.

 

Should women learn a trade?

If you enjoy working with your hands or don’t fancy a desk-based office job, then why not consider training up for a trade career and acquiring lifelong skills that will always be in demand? Being a woman should be no barrier, and there are lots of reasons why these industries make for desirable career paths, including:

  • Great pay – experienced carpenters, electricians and plumbers can earn annual salaries of £30,000+.

  • High demand – The current demand for people with these skills creates job stability as industries desperately try to fill vacancies.

  • Be your own boss – Tradespeople often have the opportunity to become self-employed. This means you can pick your own jobs, hours and what you charge your clients.

  • Less student debt – You don’t need a degree to learn a trade skill, and it no longer takes years to qualify. Training courses such as those available from Access Training Academies allow you to learn and get qualified quickly, so you can start earning as soon as possible.

 

How do I become qualified?

Training up to become a qualified tradesperson is much easier than it used to be. Traditionally, this career path would require years of studying in a college, with additional years working as an apprentice. Now training companies such as Access Training Academies allow you to study your chosen trade and learn the practical skills necessary on an intensive training course.

You can pick from several courses and several training centre locations across the UK to study your trade. We take a range of people all coming from diverse backgrounds - some just entering the world of work, some recently made redundant and looking to retrain, some just looking to carry out some DIY tasks around the home.

That’s why we understand that a training course can’t be a 'one size fits all' solution. We do everything we can to help you find a course that best suits your circumstances. It’s this flexibility that appeals to so many of our students - the ability to learn at your own pace while honouring family and work commitments. You can even start your training online!

Whether you want a complete change of career, some useful new skills, or an opportunity to top up the knowledge you already have, we're sure to have a suitable course for you. Access Training can take you from beginner to qualified worker, giving you all the skills necessary to get hired. If you aren’t ready to give up your current career, you can complete the course part-time and work while you learn.

 

Regardless of your age, sex, race or skill level, everyone on our courses is greeted with a warm welcome.

Call Access Training on 0800 345 7492 to discuss your goals with one of our friendly course advisors.

Browse Our Trade Courses >

 
Today - the 8th of March, 2016 - is International Women's Day. This annual event began more than 100 years ago, and every March it serves as a great opportunity to celebrate the amazing achievements of women all over the world.

However, IWD is also an opportunity to highlight the many areas where gender equality still hasn't been achieved, and regrettably, our own field is a prime example. Female workers are still astoundingly rare in the construction and trade industries; according to this article from last year, women account for just 11% of the UK construction industry's total workforce, and only 1% of those women actually work on construction sites. Women are similarly under-represented in trades such as plumbing and electrical work, and while the ratios are beginning to shift,  it's clear that there's still a long way to go.

So how can we encourage more people to learn a trade and join these male-dominated industries? First of all, people need to change their attitudes towards tradeswomen, and that applies both to the general public and to representatives of the trades in question. A couple of years ago, the Telegraph ran an article suggesting that roughly one-third of the UK population would be "suspicious" of a female electrician, and countless tradeswomen have shared their stories of the sexist remarks that come their way . Here's one example from Hattie Hassan, founder of Stopcocks Women Plumbers (originally reported on Sky News in 2014):

"Someone sent me an email saying, 'Look, love...plain and simple, women can't be plumbers. You'll break a fingernail and have to go out shopping to console yourself. Or you'll go running screaming when you see a spider.'"

Clearly, these sort of attitudes aren't helping anybody - it's easy to see why a budding female plumber or gas engineer might be put off. For this reason, we also need to do work harder to encourage women to join these trades in the first place, and that responsibility, at least to some extent, falls to training providers like us. The promotional materials distributed by construction/trade training centres are often targeted specifically at male learners, but this approach benefits nobody - after all, it's in the training provider's interest to attract as many new students as possible, regardless of gender.

Here at Access Training, we try to make people of all genders/races/backgrounds feel welcome at our training centres. We realise that we could still be doing more - for example, most of the photos currently on our website are of men, not women. But the sad fact of the matter is that, right now, most of the people who enquire about our courses are male, and while we are keen to do whatever we can to get more women working in the trade and construction industries, it seems that this goal will be extremely difficult to achieve until people - namely the people who are "suspicious" of female electricians, the people who tell women they "can't be plumbers", and anyone else who continues to perpetuate the false notion that women aren't cut out for these jobs - adopt a more positive, welcoming attitude towards people who, at the end of the day, are just as capable of mastering these skills as any man.

Trade training courses from Access Training:

Set up by the Women's Engineering Society (WES) to celebrate its 95th anniversary, today is National Women in Engineering Day and its aim is to focus attention on the great opportunities available to women in the engineering sector and construction industry as a whole.

The aim is to encourage all groups - from the Government and employers to careers advisers and students, to work together toward creating an environment to encourage and increase the number of women engineers. People are doing their own things across the UK - from college talks to publishing polls of their female workforce in an attempt to highlight potential barriers. Results from construction service WSP proved quite promising, with more than 20% of their engineering workforce female and 43% of these graduate rank or below. The majority of those surveyed also didn't believe that gender hindered their career progression, that there weren't any barriers to them upon entering and that they even had engineering mentioned to them as a career at school. Hopefully these are signs that the number of women entering the industry are indeed increasing.

The gender imbalance in the construction industry is something we feel very strongly about here at Access, and something we want to do our part it down. Recently we were featured on Sky News' piece about the troubles of "White Van Women", where Sky's reporters came down and spoke to our trainees and tutors about their thoughts on women in the industry. We're in agreement that construction isn't at all a man's world, and male dominance has only really come from years of stereotyping and women being guided away from those sort of careers. Notice how a lot of people simply say "tradesman"? Little things like that are enough to simply sway young people away.

This is why for the entire month of July, Access Training will be offering up to 50% off of ALL of our courses to female trainees. In addition to that we'll be spending the month featuring testimonials from some of our female trainees who have either just finished their courses here or have now gone to to bigger and better things with their trade qualifications so you can read all about the life tradespeople lead. So if you're looking to start a career in plumbing, electric, gas, carpentry, plastering, tiling, painting/decorating or even all of the above and just need to find the right training to get those all-important qualifications - keep an eye on Access throughout July. Every little bit of saving helps and upon completion of our training courses you may find yourself well on the way to setting up your own business. 

In the meantime, for more information on our courses give our advice team a call on 0800 345 7492.

Statistics via The Construction Index

Click here for more info on National Women in Engineering Day

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