For 29-year-old mum Jasmine, redesigning her home, using powertools and inspiring a legion of fans on social media is all in a days hard work. The Bedford mum has a 17-month-old son and is passionate about inspiring the next generation of female tradespeople to have the confidence to learn DIY and make the leap into trades careers.
With over 140k followers across Instagram and TikTok through her accounts @_ohabode, Jasmine is rapidly making her mark both online and in the industry.
Through Checkatrade’s Get In Programme, we spoke to Jasmine about how her grandad inspired her passion for building things and how more women and girls should carry the flag for female tradies.
How did you get into the construction and trades industry?
“My first experience of construction and trades was when I was just a little girl. My granddad is quite frugal so often did big home improvement jobs himself. When I was just 4 years old, I helped him build a concrete hardstanding for their car. He later taught me how to wire a plug, put up shelves and wallpaper a room. Ever since, I’ve always been interested in learning how things are made and fixed. I then studied woodworking at A Level and despite pursuing a career in marketing, my passion has always been to make a career out of building things and teaching people to do the same.”
“If I were to go back in time, I’d have done further training to learn more about what I love. Instead, I taught myself everything I know, and I hope more women are inspired to challenge these gender stereotypes in the future and go down a more traditional route to gaining these skills.”
The Checkatrade UK 2023 Trade Skills Index report reveals that the UK needs an additional one million workers if the economy is to keep up with construction demand – attracting more young people to the industry will be key to plugging this skills gap.
How do you think we can inspire more women into trades careers?
“We can inspire women to begin a career in trades by paying them an equal and fair wage, reducing the gender pay gap and making the workplace culture less intimidating and alienating. Let’s BE better! Through teaching DIY, I hope to inspire people to try projects for themselves and pass these skills onto their children, which in turn hopefully will inspire a new generation of women wanting to get into the trades. The hashtag #notjustforboys is also something I wholeheartedly support and it’s good to see more is being done to encourage girls to take up a trade. I follow some pretty cool women tradies on Instagram and am constantly impressed with their skill level and strength to keep working in such a male dominated world.”
Have you ever experienced judgement for your career choice, or have you had positive experiences you could share?
“Being an Influencer meets its own judgement from people, but adding DIY, handywoman and woodworking into the mix usually raises a few eyebrows and am often met with patronising looks. When working outside client’s homes, I’ve been belittled, with men saying, “trying a little DIY are you?” and being shocked when I reply saying it’s actually my job and explaining the complex project I’m working on. People have assumed I’m helping my husband or think what I’m working on it going to look botched and are then shocked when they see actually it’s pretty damn good!
On the flip side of this, I’ve had so many lovely encounters from women, and men recommending me to friends and family, praising my skills and being so thankful for passing on my knowledge. I offer DIY consultations and have had both men and women seek my help and guidance. It’s encounters and clients like these that keep me going and make it all worthwhile.”
Checkatrade is actively encouraging more young women into the construction and trades industry through our Get In Programme, after research reveals that 85% of construction workers are male.
What would you say to young women and girls who are considering a career in trades?
“For young women and girls thinking about going into a trade career, I say go for it! If you’re good at something and enjoy it, who cares if it’s traditionally a ‘man’s job’. We cannot strive for equality or prove how capable we are if we don’t try and push these boundaries. If I were to go back in time, I’d have done furthertraining to learn more about what I love. Instead, I taught myself everything I know, and I hope more women are inspired to challenge these gender stereotypes in the future and go down a more traditional route to gaining these skills.”
“Male or female, there’s a shortage of tradespeople in the UK. That’s why a lot of people are doing DIY (aside from the cost of living crisis). I don’t think people realise what an affect these self-taught skills can do to the future of the construction and trade industry. While some tradies see it as taking their jobs away, I see it as inspiring future generations to take up these trades, and hopefully, more women will make up more of the workforce and this gender disparity can end.”
What’s your favourite thing about working in the construction and trades industry?
“My favourite thing about working in the construction and trades industry is being able to be a champion for women. Particularly as an influencer, my goal is to normalise women using power tools and eradicate the gender bias and assumption that only men are allowed to build things. I work with brands to campaign for more representation of women in their advertising, and make them really think about products, packaging, messaging and brand positioning to stop alienating the other 50% of the population. We can make a change and it needs to start in our own homes. We need to encourage our children to be whoever they want to be and not to project ideologies that limit the potential future careers of younger generations.
“I’m here dedicating my spare time to teaching people to take up these skills and find an interest and confidence in doing these things for themselves, and hopefully pass this knowledge onto their children.”
Checkatrade’s Get In Programme is actively encouraging more young people into the construction and trades industry after the 2023 UK Trade Skills Index revealed that the UK needs an extra one million workers in order to keep up with the ongoing demand. Over 24,000 skilled apprentices need to qualify every year over the next ten years if the UK is to keep up with construction output.
Find out more about how you can join the construction and trades workforce here, or read more about Checkatrade’s pledge to help plug the skills gap here.