1 March 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Female traders registering with Checkatrade set to rise
INGENIOUS BRITAINFEBRUARY 23, 2012
Currently there are more men working in industries such as building, plumbing and electrical engineering than women, but this is a changing trend says Checkatrade, which helps people avoid cowboy builders by providing a free transparent and impartial directory of vetted tradespeople and service providers across the UK.
Women interested in learning a skilled trade
According to a recent survey conducted by the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC), 63% of 16-24 year old women polled said they are more interested in learning a skilled trade rather than a profession, because a trade stays with them for life. When asked which trade they would like to learn, the results were as follows:
1. Electrician (35%)
2. Carpenter (21%)
3. Plumber (20%)
4. Builder (10%)
5. Farrier (6%)
Becoming a bricky was the least popular choice, accounting for just 1% of the votes.
Kevin Byrne, Managing Director at Checkatrade, is delighted: “It is great to see more women opting for hands-on careers. It means the number of independent female traders registering with Checkatrade will rise over the coming years, especially with university fees set to increase again. This is positive news for the future growth of our business.”
Qualified electrician Charlotte Riddle registered with Checkatrade after setting up her own business two years ago. She previously worked in credit control before spending some time as a driving instructor. After a spell renovating houses in France, Charlotte moved back to the UK and decided to follow in her electrician father’s footsteps.
“My father is a huge source of inspiration and actively encouraged me to retrain”, explains Charlotte. I found it challenging because there was a lot to learn, plus I was pregnant and had a full-time job to maintain. It was hard work but I obtained City & Guilds qualifications in ‘electrical installations’ and ‘inspecting/testing electrical equipment’, plus a level 3 National Vocational Qualification (NVQ).”
After qualifying as an electrician Charlotte became Part P registered to comply with building regulations and went into partnership with her father. She is now responsible for installing, repairing and maintaining electrical systems in homes and commercial premises.
Charlotte’s business, Connected Domestic Electricians, has a wide client base and is prospering despite economic conditions. Easter is a popular time for home renovations, which makes it a busy time for Charlotte.
Commenting on the electrical trade’s gender balance, Charlotte observes: “I think one of the main reasons we see few female electricians is a lack of awareness. We need to inform young women that careers in electrical engineering are accessible, highly rewarding and not restricted to men so there is no need for apprehension.
She jokes: “Many people booking an electrician think it will be a man coming to call. Indeed, some take me for the receptionist when I answer the office phone and ask what time ‘he’, the electrician, will be arriving. This is not sexism, just natural assumptions people make because the trade is so male-dominated. However, these old-fashioned attitudes need to change.”
Electricians often have to lift floorboards, chase out walls or move heavy furniture to reach electrical components. This means working in the trade can be physically demanding.
“It can be exhausting sometimes,” admits Charlotte. “Luckily I have my father on board to help out. We work as a team to get jobs done on time, within budget. Newly qualified electricians looking to start their own businesses should consider partnership rather than going it alone. They can’t teach you everything at college, much of what you learn is on-the-job. My father’s experience is invaluable to the future success of Connected Domestic Electricians.”
Highest standards of safety and quality
Charlotte is delighted to be a part of Checkatrade. She comments: “Interfering with a domestic, industrial or commercial electrical system is extremely dangerous unless you are properly qualified. Rogue electricians risk lives for financial gain. It’s a disgraceful practice and we want to do whatever we can to minimise its effect on households and businesses.
“My father and I are proud of our company, and strive to achieve only the highest standards of safety and quality. Being part of Checkatrade means people can monitor and review our work – so far the feedback has been extremely positive, so it’s good for business too.”
Kevin Byrne founded Checkatrade in 1998, when a tornado devastated his hometown of Selsey and cowboy builders scrambled to rip off people trying to rebuild their homes. For more information visit the Checkatrade website.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Checkatrade helps combat the UK's rogue trader problem by continuously vetting and monitoring local traders such as builders, plumbers and electricians. The idea was born in 1998 after a tornado hit the small West Sussex town of Selsey. Traders poured in from as far away as Liverpool and Manchester. Unfortunately, some ripped off the inhabitants of the town. Local businessman, Kevin Byrne, realised there was nowhere to check out the traders’ credentials and the company that became Checkatrade was formed.
Since then, Checkatrade has grown to include over 6,300 genuine trade members, growing by an average 120 new members every month, and, via the Royal Mail, distributes 5.9 million directories a year into communities throughout Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex, Dorset and Berkshire, while the website includes traders from across the UK.
PR / Marketing, Checkatrade
5 - 6 Sherrington Mews, Ellis Square, Selsey, West Sussex, PO20 0FJ