Women given the opportunity to try their hand at trades have given the thumbs up to our drive to increase the number of females within our workforce.
A taster day at South Devon College was designed to help women decide if a career in a trade might be for them.
The college’s tutors and LiveWest tradespeople helped the attendees try various activities such as decorating, carpentry and bricklaying.
The event was open to women with a variety of experience and age levels including those with no experience at all.
The day enabled both LiveWest customers and members of the wider community to gain an insight into several trades and potentially kick-start a career in the housing sector.
Attendees of the taster day learnt more about our apprenticeship programme, which prepares people to enter the skilled trade industry.
Samantha Turner, a shop manager for the past seven years in Taunton, believes encouraging women to develop a career in trades is admirable.
She said: “I want to forward my career into something new and the taster day was a good start.
“I have thought about this a lot, but I felt I was too old. It is nice that women are being encouraged at any age and there are no barriers.
“I have still got a long working life ahead of me and it would be good to focus on a career which allows me to train and then go out into the working world.
“LiveWest were fantastic on the day and have been helpful and supportive.”
Jessica Cole was made redundant from her role in the mental health sector during lockdown and has been working in a tearoom as a stop gap.
But the LiveWest resident, who travelled up from Portscatho, has set her sights on carving out a career in carpentry.
Jessica said: “I have always loved carpentry and the taster day confirmed what I want to do in my career.
“LiveWest were amazing in giving me the opportunity and the support on the day to try new things was fantastic.”
Tracy Powell, of Plymouth, is currently working in the retail sector and wants to explore the prospect of doing a more practical job.
The 47-year-old said: “I am not getting any younger and because there was no age restriction, I thought I would give it a go.
“It was a really informative session, and I learnt a lot on all the different trades.
“For me, the change in career is going to come. So I am looking forward to the apprenticeships in multi trades being advertised.
“LiveWest were brilliant. They listened to us, gave us loads of opportunities to ask questions and provided us with a really fulfilling day.
“Because you are older doesn’t mean you can’t do the job. I think more women should be represented in trades and it is great that LiveWest are providing those opportunities.”
Exeter-based Claire Humphries has been a chef for the last 20 years before recently being made redundant.
The change in her circumstances has given her the chance to explore a new career and the taster day opened her eyes to a potential new career route.
Claire said: “Having a day geared for women is fantastic because these trades are very male dominated.
“I really enjoyed brick laying and carpentry and would be interested in pursuing these through an apprenticeship.
“What the day did for me was to open my eyes to what can be achieved. LiveWest have really lived up to high expectations.”
Georgia Ford’s partner is a car mechanic, and she would like to follow suit in focusing on a practical career.
She said: “I am currently doing admin on a trade counter for electricians and guys on site and doing a bit of warehouse work.
“But I would like to do something different than working in an office.
“The LiveWest team were great as I was really nervous but everyone was lovely.”
Liane Sheppard, Director of Property Services for LiveWest, said: “Women are not well represented in skilled trades and we want to address this by giving them opportunities at LiveWest.
“We have some great female role models already working across our trades, but we want more.
“We want to empower more women to pursue a trades career.
“The taster day was relaxed, fun and gave the opportunity to have a go and a specialist trade.
“If females are empowered to try out these trades, the results can be phenomenal.
“LiveWest is committed to welcoming female colleagues to our trades and this could be the start of an exciting journey for those interested in launching or changing their careers.”
LiveWest has now launched its new apprenticeship opportunities across the region, click here to find out more.