When we think of tradespeople, we typically think of blokes in white vans, handling heavy tools and doing dirty jobs. However, today’s tradesperson
couldn’t be further from that stereotype, with a recent huge rise in tradeswomen in work.
Twenty or even fifteen years ago, the trade industry was overwhelmingly dominated by males, and although it still is the case, there has been a promising
rise in tradeswomen working in the industry.
The Times, Are They A-Changing?
Most importantly, not only has the number of tradeswomen increased, but the attitude towards tradeswomen and a woman’s place in the industry has changed
also. It has gone from being one dismissing their ability to do a good job and confining them to more traditional ‘female’ careers, to one of support and
acceptance, understanding that women can do just as good a job as men.
As of 2014,
women accounted for almost 5.7% of the trade industry, including builders, plasterers and plumbers.
This increase has been encouraged by employers, who feel that a reliable female influence in the workplace has a positive effect on customer relations, and
that women do just as good a job as men.
Women Are Rightfully Finding Their Place In The Industry - But Why Now?
In 2012, the country suffered a dramatic decrease of migrant workers working in trade, as the percentage fell by almost half, from 8% to 4.6%.
However, experts say that this might have freed some space for women to enter the industry, and given them more of an opportunity to find work.
Not only that, but with programmes such as The Lady Builder and Beware Cowboy Builders, the attitude towards women in the trade workplace has changed
tremendously, with a dramatic rise in women engaging with home DIY projects; B&Q reported that five times more women were taking up workshops. In 2012,
3,200 women signed up for DIY class, a huge increase from only 592 the previous year.
The Country Is Behind Them!
A clear indicator of the surge in popularity for tradeswomen is the establishment of the ‘UK’s first tradeswoman-focused magazine’, called Women In Trade, which helps increase awareness and support for hard-working women who are ‘overlooked’ in the
Their aim is to inspire more women to work in this growing industry, and help them see the benefit of this ‘attractive career route’ in the same
way that men have done, whilst also continuing to change people’s perceptions of stereotypes in trade.
This is a cause very much worth supporting. With the UK’s current skills shortage, the future of proposed housing and road developments are under threat.
Being more inclusive to tradeswomen could supply the country with the required workforce needed to help ensure that these large-scale projects go ahead,
and also provide the chance needed to dispel the traditional mentality that women are not suited to work in trade, once and for all.
Is It A Passing Surge In Popularity, Or Are Tradeswomen Here To Stay?
The director of the Consumer Protection Association Jeremy Brett, said that this change in the industry was significant and widespread:
“We have been operating in the building and home-improvement industry for over 20 years, and there has been a quantum shift [in the number of
tradeswomen],” said Brett.
“Wind back 20 years and it was very rare to see women working in the building trade, but we are seeing a change...the perception is that it is a male
profession, but I don’t know how long that will be the reality for”.
This increase can be noticed first hand at our training centres across the UK. The number of women we
train has grown significantly in recent years, and we continue to encourage and provide support for women who want to apply for courses with us.
Women are finally finding their rightful place in the world of trade, and you could do the same. If you’re unsure about starting a career in the trade
industry, give us a call on 0800 345 7492 and talk to one of our course advisers.
Read Hayley Evans' testimonial here, to see how Access Training has helped her forward her trade career.
Header Image by Construction Women, via Flickr