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SWH National Skills Academy for Construction welcomes its first female Apprentice in Highways Maintenance

The Construction Industry is dominated by male workers and many large employers, but organisations such as CITB continue to try and attract more females into the industry. In recent years the construction sector with the support of CITB's National Skills Academy for Construction has invested considerable effort into promoting careers to under-represented groups, and recruitment of females into 'non-traditional' roles is an area of focus.

Apprenticeships and Vocational Training are currently the most gender segregated areas of the Welsh education system.

SWH was awarded National Skills Academy for Construction status in September 2013. We celebrated our 100th Appentice in October 2013 and since then SWH has increased the number of apprenticeships available.

Since becoming a National Skills Academy for Construction project, the course has attracted the attention of national construction companies who use SWH Training to train their own Apprentices, with candidates coming from Sussex, Worcester, Wiltshire, London, Isle of Wight and Wales.

Harriet, also known as 'Hattie' is 19 from Wales and is a 1st year Apprentice with Powys County Council, where she started in September 2013. After speaking to a careers advisor at school, Hattie decided her ideal job would be a Tree Surgeon. She left school at 16 where she achieved 11 GCSE's and went on to study A Levels in Applied Science, Geography, English and History. After completing her A Levels last year, Hattie decided that she no longer wanted to go to university, so she started applying for jobs. She applied for everything but unfortunately she didn't get much response. Hattie came across 2 Apprenticeships with Powys County Council one for a Leisure Assistant and the other a Local Environmental Operative and she decided to apply for both. Hattie was very wary at the beginning that she may not get chosen however she was successful in being offered both opportunities and decided to accept the Local Environmental Operative (working in all areas of the business) from highways to grounds. Hattie has just completed her first block in the classroom at SWH.

Hattie said, "It was daunting at first coming into such a male environment but now I think I have been accepted as just another team member. The Apprenticeship has been great for me and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who doesn't want to go through university. You are paid whilst learning, getting qualifications and gaining work experience and I have paid nothing towards it. The amount of support the company invests in you is phenomenal and really encourages you to go further. Like every other Apprentice male or female I have to work hard, being a women in a male dominated industry has made me all the more determined to work hard and challenge the preconceived ideas that people might have about women in Highways"


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