How to become a Tradeswoman

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 :

First, take a look at the resources here on the WAMT website. Here you can :

  • Find out why women love working in the manual trades
  • 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 theCITB 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.

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.

And, once you’re training or working in the trades :

  • Join Women and Manual Trades! Individual Membership of WAMT is currently free (but you must be a woman training or working in the trades). By being part of our Network you’ll have the chance to meet other like-minded women; and get news about jobs, events and opportunities through our monthly ebulletin. For more information and to register, click here.
  • If you’re not currently training or working in the trades, but work for an organisation which would like to help WAMT continue our valuable work with tradeswomen, consider becoming a WAMT Partner, Supporter, or Friend. For more info on how you can support us, click here.

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.