“Shauna’s sparky success paves the way for women,” says NICEIC.
A Sheffield spark is well on her way to lighting up the electrical industry thanks to support from NICEIC.
Shauna Wigglesworth has just completed her Level 3 studies in electrical installations. Despite being the only female on her course she is determined to forge a successful career as an electrician – a sector traditionally dominated by men.
The 24-year-old has just been taken on as a full-time apprentice with housing provider The Guinness Partnership.
“Being the only female was never a concern for me,” she said. “My main worries at the start were ‘am I good enough’ and ‘will I enjoy it’. Well I am definitely enjoying it and I think I have proved I can do it.
“I can’t wait to start working full-time. I want to try out as many things as I can. I just enjoy the work and all it brings. Eventually I think I would like to see myself working with architects and builders carrying out electrical designs from scratch for large projects.”
Shauna has been helped on her way by NICEIC – one of the UK’s leading voluntary bodies for electricians. Last year, as part of its Jobs for the Girls campaign, which aims to encourage more women into the electrical industry, NICEIC provided a bursary to Shauna to help aid her final year studies. NICEIC also helped set up some work experience with the Guinness Partnership which led to the full-time opportunity.
Emma Clancy, CEO of NICEIC, commented: “Finding the right support to get the necessary qualifications and training is still a massive barrier for many women.
“Attitudes within the construction industry have changed dramatically. Seeing a woman out on-site is not the closed shop it once might have been.”
“The Jobs for the Girls campaign aims to help them overcome this hurdle and we are delighted to be supporting Shauna as she takes her first steps in the industry.
“She has a real enthusiasm to succeed as an electrician and we hope her experience will inspire more women to take up a trade.”
Paul Roberts is the Executive Director of Guinness Property, the in-house contractor Shauna will be working for. “We’re dedicated to building a skilled and diverse workforce and we’re taking active steps to increase the number of tradeswomen across the organisation by 2018,” he said. “We’re absolutely delighted to welcome Shauna on board as one of a number of tradeswomen already in post.”
Shauna completed her studies in electrical installations at The Sheffield College. Her tutor Martin Fletcher said the construction industry had worked hard at changing its image in the last decade, yet there was still a shortage of women coming through at college age.
“There are more opportunities out there now,” said Martin. “I think there is still some work to be done at school age to make a career as an electrician appealing to women.
“Shauna really stood out from day one as someone who would make it and I am delighted to see her progress.”
When NICEIC set up its Jobs for the Girls campaign back in 2011 the electrical sector was severely under represented by women. Estimates at the time suggested less than one in every thousand electricians was female.
Five years on NICEIC believe more and more women are now choosing to take up a career as an electrician, but that certain obstacles do still exist.
“Attitudes within the construction industry have changed dramatically,” added Emma. “Seeing a woman out on-site is not the closed shop it once might have been.
“However, the number of females actually choosing to become a plumber, builder or electrician is still very low.
“We want to highlight that fact and make choosing a career as an electrician a legitimate career option and a viable one for women of all ages.”