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For Tradeswomen

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:

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.

FAQs

For tradeswomen, wannabe tradeswomen, members of the press and media, and members of the public

How do I find a training course?
Once you’ve decided what you want to do, the National Careers Service can help you find a suitable training course in your area. Their number is 0800 100 900. They can also give you advice on any funding that may be available to you, based on your particular circumstances.

Where can I go if I’m looking for an apprenticeship?
If you’re interested in an apprenticeship, we recommend the National Apprenticeship Scheme website – www.apprenticeships.org.uk – as a first port-of-call.

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.

Can Women on the Tools train me as a tradeswoman?
Women on the Tools is not a training provider. We do occasionally run one-day courses – in things like DIY, or CV writing – which women can join, but these wont train you up as a qualified plumber, electrician, carpenter etc.

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.

Are you running any DIY courses that I could join?

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.

How can I get work experience?
Many tradeswomen find that they get work experience, in informal ways, through our membership services. For example you may meet a tradeswoman, at one of our events, who runs a business and is able to take on trainees. To become a member of Women on the Tools and receive invitations to our events, sign up 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!

How can I encourage more young women to enter the trades?
Women on the Tools has a number of tradeswomen members who are keen to speak in local schools, to encourage girls to consider a career in the building trades. If this is something you’d like to do, get in touch with us.

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.

Who can join Women on the Tools' Network of Tradeswomen?
Any woman or girl training or working in a non-traditional manual occupation can join our Tradeswomen’s Network. Members are traditionally focussed on those in the construction industry, although we do have members who are gardeners, car mechanics, and engineers.

What's the benefit of joining Women on the Tools' Network of Tradeswomen?
As a member of Women on the Tools’ Network, you’ll be able to be in touch with us, and with other tradeswomen in the UK. We won’t share your details but we will contact you when we hear from other tradeswomen who want to be in touch (for example with local work opportunities), from press and media or policy-makers who want to reach out to tradeswomen, and when we hear from members of the public or from companies who want to hire a tradeswoman.

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!

How do I join the Women on the Tools Tradeswomen's Network?
You can join us by registering your details here.

I'm already a member of the Tradeswomen's Network, how can I log in to update my details?
You can log in here.

Can you help me find a tradeswoman, and what do I need to check before employing a tradeswoman?
Have a look at our Twitter List of UK tradeswomen. Or, you can contact us and we will try to help, but please note that we have limited resources and are unable to prioritise enquiries from members of the public who want to hire tradeswomen. Contact us with your name, contact details, location, brief description of the work you need doing, and confirmation that you are happy for your details to be forwarded on, so that we can email your enquiry to relevant tradeswomen members of our network – we will ask them to contact you directly. Women on the Tools does not assess or rate the work of its members, and is not liable for their actions. As with all tradespeople, we suggest that you check references, ask about insurance, and get written quotes before any work starts.

I’m a journalist looking for a tradeswoman to interview....
If you’re a journalist or academic wanting to interview a tradeswoman for an article, you might also find Women on the Tools‘ Twitter profile useful. You can find us at @womenonthetools. There, we have a list of over 80 tradeswomen working around the UK – and their own Twitter profiles usually give contact details or relevant websites.

Alternatively, Women on the Tools can help by circulating an interview request amongst our members. Please contact us, and we’ll try to help.

How can I contact Women on the Tools?
By sending us your enquiry here. Or you can telephone us on 020 7251 9192 (but please note the office is staffed part-time, so if we’re not available when you call, please leave us a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible).

How do I get to the Women on the Tools offices?
The Women on the Tools office is in a building called Tindlemanor, located at 52-54 Featherstone Street. Our nearest tube station is Old Street Station, on the Northern Line (Bank branch). When you get to the tube, take exit 5 (steps) or exit 6 (ramp), and walk around the corner to Featherstone Street (which is off City Road).

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!