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How did you get into your chosen profession?
I applied for an apprenticeship within the council, I was then given an interview and successful in doing so.
Including your apprenticeship how long have you worked in this profession?
This year I will have been with the council for 8 years.
Had you always wanted to work in construction? / what inspired you to go down that route?
When I was at school, I saw myself becoming a PE teacher because a lot of my friends were doing similar things. I chose to go for an apprenticeship at the council because one of my friends was currently doing an apprenticeship in plumbing within the council – I was always quite handy and helped my mam with DIY around the house and this wasn’t a typical female role.
Was this a career path you felt was presented to you as an option as much as those traditionally considered “less masculine” when you were growing up? Did anyone in your school life or later training encourage or discourage you to work in this area?
This type of career path wasn’t presented to me as it was considered more ‘masculine’. People had different opinions on me going for this job, some thought it was a great idea, others thought it was too masculine.
Does it feel like a masculine environment or is that starting to change now?
Since working at the council, it is slowly turning into a more female friendly place and, although I am the only female joiner at the council, there are a lot of other females doing other roles such as bricklaying, plumbing and electricians within the council. It is still very much a male dominated place but hopefully in the future this will change.
What does your typical day involve? What parts of your role do you enjoy the most?
My current role is working on the repairs and maintenance doing fencing. Each day is always different as it could be anything from putting a new fence up to repairing it, making it safe or making or repairing gates.
How do people react to you – do you think they’re usually expecting a man? Do you ever receive any comments (positive or negative)?
Customers are always surprised when I turn up, they often think I’m coming to inspect the job rather than do it! I always hear, “eee it’s not often you see a girl doing this”. It makes me feel good when people think it’s great what I do.
How important is it for more women to be encouraged into the industry?
I think a lot of females should consider taking a job role like this and should be encouraged to do so.
What would you say to any young women or girls who are interested in work of this nature? Any top tips for success or things they should or shouldn’t focus on?
I’d say to any female considering this type of role that you should absolutely go for it! Don’t focus on what everyone else is doing, focus on yourself and what you want to do. Don’t worry what anyone else thinks or worry about working in a male-dominated place, everyone is treated equally at the council.