Help entering the trades
Are you interested in a career in the trades, but don’t know where to start? Here are some things you might want to do!
Take a look at the resources here on the Women on the Tools website. Here you can:
- Read a case study about a woman who left her office job to become an electrician
- Read about how Kate built a career as a self-employed plumber
- Find out about a woman who just loves being a carpenter.
- Interested in a career in painting and decorating? See how Penny made this a reality.
- Our publication ’My Future in My Hands’ gives information about a career in construction. The booklet is a few years old now, but the overview it gives is still relevant.
To find a course, apprenticeship, or get further careers advice :
- Go to the CITB website, which has useful general information on training in the trades, and a section where you can apply for an apprenticeship online. If you’re in Northern Ireland, visit the CITB NI website for information about training. They also have a Women in Construction NI Network.
- Call the National Careers Service on 0800 100 900 for information on colleges and courses in your area. They can also give you advice on any funding that might be available to you, based on your particular circumstances.
- If you’re interested in a career in electrics, keep an eye on the Jobs for the Girls campaign, a scheme started by NICEIC to help encourage more women into the industry.
- If you live in Wales, get in touch with WIC Wales (Women in IT and Construction), who may be able to offer practical support.
- If you’re in or near Sheffield, contact WiCAT (Women in Construction, Arts and Technology).They run short women-only courses which could give you a practical taste of different trades.
- If you want a work placement in construction, contact Women into Construction who offer training and supported industry work placements just for women.
When considering taking a course, it is important to check whether your training provider is accredited. Confirm in writing whether your course is approved, before you start your studies. Centres have been known to have their accreditation removed even though they have students studying on-site. If a training provider is not accredited then you may not be able to sit exams, or to have your qualification recognised within the industry.
Outside of the UK?
- NAWIC is the international organisation for women working in the construction industry. Both “blue-collar” and “white collar” women can join NAWIC and benefit from their networking events, seminars and workshops.
- Pride and a Paycheck is a regular publication for women working in manual trades in the U.S. Have a look at the back issues available on their website.
For tradeswomen, wannabe tradeswomen, members of the press and media, and members of the public
You can also sign up for an apprenticeship at the ConstructionSkills website www.bconstructive.co.uk. The minimum age to apply is 16, and there is no maximum age limit.
If we have any courses coming up, they’ll be listed on the Current Activities section of our website, with details of eligibility criteria.
If you are interested in undertaking full training in the trades, we suggest that you contact the National Careers Service on 0800 100 900, who can talk you through the qualifications you need and help you find a relevant course in your area.
Women on the Tools occasionally runs DIY and self-employment training and courses for women. If we are planning any these will be listed on the Current Activities section of our website, and you can book a place online.
If you work for a Housing Association you may be interested to commission Women on the Tools to run bespoke DIY training for your tenants. We can provide tutors, equipment, handouts, and – if necessary – a teaching space where your tenants can learn basic home maintenance skills in a friendly female-led environment. Our previous clients have included L&Q, Peter Bedford Housing Association, Crisis Skylight, and HMP Holloway.
For a quote, or to discuss your organisation’s needs, contact us here.
You can also contact CITB (Construction Industry Training Board) for advice. Have a look at www.bconstructive.co.uk, where there is a list of the phone numbers for CITB’s regional offices.
Women into Construction helps women find employment in construction, and offers supported industry placements as well as construction-related training – contact them to see if they might be able to help you find a placement.
And you can, of course, always organise your own work placement. Start by researching relevant companies in your area. Then write to them directly, enclosing a short CV and explaining exactly what youre after in terms of work experience. And dont be put off if the first few companies turn you down – finding the right placement can be tricky, and may take some persistence!
Women on the Tools supports the STEMNET Ambassador Scheme. This programme provides a database of ‘ambassadors’ in Science, Technology, Maths, and Construction, who visit schools to speak about their chosen careers.
If you’re a tradeswoman keen to tell young people what’s great about your job, STEMNET can let you know if any schools and colleges in your area are looking for speakers. In order to be an ambassador, you would need to attend approximately 3-4 hours of training, and have a DBS check (formerly known as a Criminal Records Bureau check).
For more information, click here.
You will receive our bi-monthly e-bulletin, featuring news, job opportunities, events, and other things we think you may be interested in; and you’ll get invites to tradeswomen’s networking events. These benefits are all available for free!
Alternatively, Women on the Tools can help by circulating an interview request amongst our members. Please contact us, and we’ll try to help.
Bus routes 243, 55, 505, 43, 76, 271, 214, and 141 all stop within 100 yards of our office. If you are driving to us, a few parking spaces are available on the streets around Featherstone Street, on meters.
If you want to come and visit us, we’d love to see you, but please make an appointment first so we can be sure to be in the office when you arrive!