For some families, being good at things just runs in your blood. Whether that’s being good at football or fashion or fixing things. For 21-year-old Lauren from Flintshire Wales, her family’s natural ability for trades work inspired her to also pursue a career as an electrician – thanks to both her dad and older sister already working in the trades industry.
As part of Checkatrade’s Get In Programme, which is actively encouraging more young people into the construction and trades industry to fill a major UK skills gap, we spoke to Lauren about how growing up around family DIY projects sparked her intrigue and how her apprenticeship unlocked her potential.
Why did you decide to choose a career in construction or the trades?
“My family is largely trades based and through the work I did with my dad I knew electrics was something that sparked my intrigue”
“I grew up helping my dad with odd jobs and helping my siblings renovate their houses. It was a massive part of my life I knew I enjoyed.”
“When my big sister became a plumber, she really inspired me to take up a trade. With the work I did with my dad I knew electrics was something that sparked my intrigue”
How did you get into the construction and trades industry – what route did you take?
“I decided to go for an apprenticeship at a large company that already had female engineers.
I did this straight from high school at 16, but going to college for a year is also a great option as it eases you into the trade before your apprenticeship further down the line.”
What do you love about your job?
“I love being able to do something different and be somewhere different every single day, from domestic work to industrial. My apprenticeship set me up to be able to do it all.”
What do people say when you tell them what you do?
“Almost everyone is surprised and filled with questions, good and bad. Not a day goes by where a knock on a customer’s door and they say, “oh I wasn’t expecting a female” and proceed to ask how I got into it and how do i find it, which I love! It’s great to educate people on how it’s not a man’s job.”
Are customers surprised?
“Many people are very positive, and I love the feedback from customers after I visit. I’ve been told I’ve inspired peoples’ daughters, the classic “good on you” and the ultimate compliment is customers asking for you back specifically.
However, I never forget the negative comments, including being stopped in the street for a man to shout, “a female electrician, what has the world come to”. Most people are negative without even realising it, often second guessing me, asking if I’m sure I’m capable or if I can lift heavy things.
With working for a large, very supportive company that currently has multiple female engineers, not just electricians, day to day I don’t feel like I’m the only woman, but once I get on site it’s noticeable but again mostly everyone wants to ask questions. Oftentimes the female toilets on site are used as storage and I must ask for them to be cleared out.”
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
“In my spare time I’m a fairly normal 21-year-old woman, I play netball at my local netball club and wild swim! With the odd night out thrown in there of course!”
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.