More females taking up an apprenticeship

11 February 2015     JTL

JTL is committing significant investment and effort for the second year to confirm that there is significant room in the electrical and heating and plumbing sectors for women by continuing its Ambassadors Initiative – where bright young women take responsibility for sharing information about apprenticeships for young women in the building services engineering sector.

For the second year, JTL has recruited a number of young women from amongst its ranks, currently in apprenticeships or having just completed them, and supported by JTL, who are confident, intelligent young women, dedicated to spreading the word that women can make great electricians, plumbers and heating installers.

The new ambassadors just appointed are: Chantelle Browne from Thetford in Norfolk; Charlene-Ann Jennings from Stoke-on-Trent; Alice Duarte from Chelmsford; Katie Baldwin from Nuneaton; Meleisha Stuart from Huddersfield; Samantha Jones from Coleford in Gloucestershire; Lucy Suggett from Chard in Somerset; Hedy Navarro from Huddersfield; Lisa Marie Wood from Manchester; Adele Claire Walsh from Wigan; Rebecca Ashcroft from Burton-on-Trent; and Phoebe Stockford from Oxford.  They are all volunteers who have agreed to carry out this role to try and attract more young women to trade apprenticeships.

The JTL Ambassador programme was a great hit last year with the ambassadors appearing around the country at events and undertaking interviews locally and regionally with the media. They shared the message that women can not only be excellent trade’s people, but many are already and offer something vital for professions that are still predominantly male oriented and still seen by many – inside and outside the professions themselves - as purely male domains.

Launched in 2013 at the House of Commons, the aim of the JTL Ambassador programme is to encourage greater understanding among young women of the career opportunities that are available in building services engineering. The initiative has just been shortlisted in the Training Initiative category of the 2015 H&V News Awards.

Whether pursuing an interest in electrical, plumbing or heating and ventilating, women leaving school or college are being asked to consider the apprenticeship opportunities that exist and to see these occupations as not solely being the territory of men.

Among a first grouping of young Ambassadors have been women who have made major successes of careers in the sector. These include extending the work of their employer into some new areas as well as others who have gone beyond their apprenticeship to take on significant roles in support of national and local infrastructure projects or in creating a business of their own.

JTL’s aim in presenting the Ambassador programme is to encourage girls still at school as well as other young women to make informed decisions about their first major career decision.

“A failure to raise the understanding and appeal of working in building services engineering among more women could be depriving the industries of half the young talent coming from education into work,” said Yasmin Damree-Ralph of JTL.

An electrical apprenticeship in either installation or maintenance at Level 3 takes some four years to complete, whilst a plumbing apprenticeship at Level 2 can be tackled within two years with the option of continuing forward to achieve Level 3 after a further two years. So many well-respected and suitably rewarded people in the industry started their careers as apprentices and maintained this progression route for new staff that they have engaged.

Now in 2014 a second cohort of newly qualified tradeswomen and apprentices recruited up and down the country by JTL, will be carrying the messages of opportunity and signposting success to those contemplating career decisions. All of the new group of Ambassadors are regionally based and will be helping change many perceptions about job suitability and female opportunities over the next year.

At the heart of JTL Ambassadors is the belief that young women who are making a significant success of their careers in the sector should share their own personal experiences as an apprentice, including the benefits they gained and their ambitions for the future.

 “There are a number of well documented case studies of women setting up their own companies in these traditionally male dominated sectors and making a serious success of their business,” says JTL’s Yasmin Damree-Ralph. “Many women live on their own and feel much more confident inviting a woman trade’s person into their homes than having men around the place. And women have a number of benefits to offer the public in these roles. It’s vital that young women who have a practical bent are given the opportunity to make the decisions that are right for them and that they are not steered into the wrong options because of their gender and what older people accept as the norm. Beauty and hairdressing have their place, but girls are finding that there are worthwhile professions outside those normally touted as ‘right for girls’.

“As with their male counterparts, further education is not always the right option or attractive to young people – the chance to earn while they learn in an apprenticeship is far more attractive to lots of young people than ‘racking up’ a student loan of perhaps £30,000 after gaining a degree they may never actually use in their working lives. Young people are becoming so much more aware these days and give their futures a lot more thought than perhaps those of us who are a bit older did when we were at school.”

JTL Female Ambassadors

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