Case Study – Carpentry

Training in the Trades – Carpentry

Anne-Marie Watson, Carpenter

It’s a happy accident that Anne Marie Watson is a carpenter – it wasn’t what she intended to do when she enrolled at college. I wanted to do anything in construction.I went to college, and I thought I’d enrolled for a bricklaying course, but obviously I didn’t, and I ended up on a carpentry course!… Firstly I thought “I’ll do this, then I’ll do the bricklaying’, but then I was like, No, I’ll do carpentry, I like carpentry’.“

As the only girl in her class for two years, Anne Marie says people sometimes reacted to her with surprise. It wasn’t horrible, it was just like “This doesn’t look like this is job for you’. But I proved them wrong by sticking it out.” And she knew how to respond to people who thought she couldn’t manage. “You know men, they’re so silly, they think that you want help. But you just tell them, straight from the beginning – I don’t need your help, it’s okay.“

Having achieved her FCA and ICA qualifications in Carpentry, Anne Marie joined the Building Work for Women project at Women and Manual Trades. She gained tools, PPE, driving lessons and a work placement with C-Saws – as well as benefiting from the pre-placement training that the project offers. This training covers topics such as CVs, interview techniques, and First Aid.

Anne Marie particularly enjoyed the session on Confidence and Assertiveness, led by trainer Joy Chopp. “That was really good. Joy said to write down things that you like about yourself, and that was so hardI couldn’t think of anything! But she came over and she said certain things, and made you realise, you do have qualities. Even if you don’t mention them all the time you do have them.“

Anne Marie’s main tip for women wanting to follow her career path is to “be confident“. Especially if you know what you’re doing “be confident“. And, whilst you’re training and gaining work experience, Anne Marie recommends an honest approach to employers. “If you’re not fully confident, let them know. Explain yourself. Say to them – I’m training, and I have skills, but I need to improve’. Be honest.“

So what does the future hold for Anne Marie? “Eventually I wouldn’t mind doing Health and Safety“. For the time being though, it looks like her accidental college enrolment has led her into a job that really suits her practical nature. “I’m not a person who sits down. I hate computers – I’m not really into them. I like to do things. I like to be out there.” And the best thing about the career? Anne Marie says the job satisfaction is key “when a job’s done – I can turn around and say “I did that’.”