Elaine Thomas, Property Maintenance Apprentice shows how women really can do any job within the Construction Industry
Galliford Try Partnerships is committed to supporting women into construction. There are a myriad of career options and routes into construction which makes it as accessible as possible for us to attract talent and grow our workforce. The industry is changing, partly in response to the skills shortage but also as traditional stereotypical gender-based job roles are being challenged. What was once considered ‘boy’s jobs’ are now open to all and Galliford Try is leading the way in attracting more women to join the profession.
I have worked for Galliford Try Partnerships (GTP) as a Mechanical Apprentice for the past 18 months.
It has allowed me to earn, learn and work by doing practical things which I enjoy. I learn new things every day! I can’t thank GTP and the guys I work with enough for the time and opportunity they have all given me!
My next steps will see me move to Regal Mechanical and Electrical Services, one of GTP’s subcontractors. I am now excited to have been given further opportunities to continue my development and hopefully within a few years, become a qualified plumber. No matter what people say, I am passionate that women can do “men’s jobs” just as well, if not in some cases better!
This is what a standard day could look like for me.
7:30am- I’m an early riser which is good news as I start work at 7:30am. I tend to listen to music on the way in to get me in the mood for work. When I get to work, I have to get my PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) on. Health and Safety is taken so seriously on site and everybody knows that PPE is part of that. Some days we can have Toolbox talks from our Site Managers which is an opportunity for us to share best practise and learn from each other.
9:00am- My first job of the day is to help with the plasterers. The patching work is actually really fun, sometimes when plaster dries it can crack or small holes can be left within large spaces, so we just patch the holes. It sounds easier but there really is a technique to it. The guys showing me how to do it, love their jobs and their passion really shine through, probably why I enjoy it now.
11:00am- I move around helping different subcontractors, which helps me learn a range of skills. I started knowing nothing, but everyone has just been so helpful. Today I have helped the Carpenters lay carpets, just joking! That is a common misconception Carpenters actually look after the woodwork on site. Our job today has been to attach the remaining skirting boards. They have to be measured, cut, sanded down and attached to the wall.
12:00pm- At first, I was nervous about how people would be with me on site, I had nothing to worry about! The guys ask me to join them for lunch most days and we always have good banter. Today is a treat day, we’re going to McDonald’s!
1:00pm- My tutor from the collage tends to visit me every few months. I am an apprentice, so I get assessed on my work on the job as well asexams. I much prefer it this way. I am so much more practical.I just continue working away and she will ask me questions, take pictures and put together a case file to help me pass my course. It’s a great way for me to learn.
4:30pm – Time to leave for the day! Another day complete and it has gone so fast. I don’t get time to clock watch or wait for the day to be over. I never know what the next day holds because its always so varied and different. The great thing about working in construction is the pace. It changes so fast and there is always something that needs to be sorted. Tonight, I will go home and play on my PlayStation to unwind. I do like cooking too, so will probably rustle something up!
“Elaine has worked for us for the past 18 months and it has been a pleasure. She always gave 100% with every job we have asked her to complete and it has been great to see her progress. I am really glad we have been able to work with one of our key Subcontractors, Regal and offer Elaine further prospects to continue her career within Construction. She really is an asset for women in construction.” Darren Beale, Regional Director.
“Elaine is right, gaining skills and knowledge through an apprenticeship programme is a great way to receive practical hands on learning and training enabling her to succeed in qualifying in her chosen career of plumbing and heating within the construction industry. We are particularly thrilled that she has chosen Regal to support her through her next journey in becoming our very first female fully qualified plumber.” – Alison Clements Company Director.
In November, we shall be celebrating 30 years of operating as a M&E Services provider within the construction industry and with Elaine starting early November is cause for a double celebration. After having previously been nominated as Apprenticeship Employer of the Year and then winning the award, we are confident that Elaine will not only succeed in her chosen career, but she will also enjoy every step of the way.
“We have worked with GTP for many years and teaming up with Regal following her extensive experience with GTP will allow Elaine to further her skills and I have every confidence that she will become an invaluable asset to the business going forward. I would personally like to wish Elaine all the best and we will keep a close eye on her progress and development” – Roger Smith (Founder and Managing Director)