Blaz­ing a trail in con­struc­tion sec­tor

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - News -

Busi­nesses from across NI will gather this week at the Skills NI Ex­hi­bi­tion to show­case the range of em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able — and they are en­cour­ag­ing young women to con­sider an ap­pren­tice­ship. We take a look at the ex­am­ple set by three fe­male ap­pren­tices in en­gi­neer­ing and con­struc­tion

NIE Net­works

JOANNA Bar­clay joined NIE Net­works as an ap­pren­tice in 2010. But af­ter­wards, her ca­reer took a new di­rec­tion when NIE Net­works of­fered her a place on the Ap­pren­tice to Grad­u­ate pro­gramme.

The pro­gramme spon­sors suc­cess­ful ap­pren­tices to un­der­take an elec­tri­cal en­gi­neer­ing de­gree at Queen’s Univer­sity.

Joanna was the first ap­pren­tice to avail of the pro­gramme and is now a full-time elec­tri­cal en­gi­neer­ing grad­u­ate.

Joanna said: “From a very young age I have al­ways had a keen in­ter­est in elec­tric­ity. I think this in­ter­est may have come from my fa­ther who worked as a ca­ble join­ter on the un­der­ground network. I’ve al­ways wanted to pur­sue a ca­reer in the elec­tric­ity in­dus­try and joined NIE Net­works as an over­head lines ap­pren­tice in 2010.

“Af­ter com­plet­ing my ap­pren­tice­ship my ca­reer path took a new di­rec­tion when I joined the NIE Net­works’ Ap­pren­tice to Grad­u­ate pro­gramme. I’m now a grad­u­ate en­gi­neer as part of NIE Net­works’ line and sta­tions team in Bal­ly­mena. I would highly rec­om­mend a ca­reer in en­gi­neer­ing. It opens up a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties, such as work­ing in other coun­tries.

“There’s lots of va­ri­ety and if you en­joy sci­ence and maths it’s the per­fect job field. En­gi­neer­ing is tra­di­tion­ally seen as an all-male en­vi­ron­ment but there are more and more women work­ing in this field.”

HP Hire

RACHEL Maguire is an ap­pren­tice with HP Hire in En­niskillen and is cur­rently study­ing NVQ Level 3 in light ve­hi­cle re­pair at South West Col­lege.

Fe­males are gen­er­ally un­der-rep­re­sented within the con­struc­tion in­dus­try and fe­male con­struc­tion ap­pren­tices are not very com­mon.

But Rachel has taken her ap­pren­tice­ship in her stride and is ea­ger to get on with the job in hand and learn.

Rachel said: “I am en­joy­ing my ap­pren­tice­ship.

“Be­ing able to fine tune my me­chan­i­cal skills on site has helped me to learn more about the job, gain valu­able work ex­pe­ri­ence and helped me to de­velop per­son­ally.

“The work is in­ter­est­ing and I en­joy work­ing with the tools and as part of the team while gain­ing my qual­i­fi­ca­tions at the same time.

“HP Hire have given me a great op­por­tu­nity to learn my trade on site, deal­ing with all as­pects of the job to help my ca­reer de­vel­op­ment.”

NI Wa­ter

RACHEL Mof­fitt joined the NI Wa­ter Ap­pren­tice­ship Pro­gramme in Jan­uary 2009 af­ter study­ing ar­chae­ol­ogy at Queen’s Univer­sity.

How­ever, due to the re­ces­sion in 2008, work had dried up and Rachel found her­self look­ing for a new job, one that al­lowed her to con­tinue to work out­doors.

She started as the only fe­male ap­pren­tice in waste­water op­er­a­tions in Omagh with NI Wa­ter.

Within a year, she was re­spon­si­ble for a num­ber of waste­water treat­ment works and has gone on to forge a suc­cess­ful ca­reer with the com­pany.

The ap­pren­tice scheme in­cludes mod­ules such as an­a­lyt­i­cal de­sign, wa­ter sci­ence and cus­tomer ser­vices for the wa­ter in­dus­try.

Rachel said: “I know some young women might find it in­tim­i­dat­ing or un­com­fort­able work­ing with men, but I hon­estly think it has made me a stronger, more con­fi­dent per­son, as you have to put your­self out there and con­stantly prove your abil­ity.

“I hope to con­tinue to progress within NI Wa­ter as I in­crease my knowl­edge and un­der­stand­ing of the dif­fer­ent func­tions.

“Be­ing a woman in this busi­ness has never held me back and I see no rea­son why there shouldn’t be more of us, es­pe­cially within op­er­a­tions.

“When I joined as an ap­pren­tice, there weren’t any other young women in a role spe­cific to mine, but now it’s nor­mal.”

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