In 2019, the BBC reported on the success of Emily Burridge. Burridge had entered into the world of construction via an apprenticeship scheme. But this isn’t just an example of a woman getting her foot in the door to a stereotypically male-orientated industry.
Burridge hasn’t just gotten into the sector — she’s excelled, making her a brilliant example of why the industry must recognise the importance of equality and diversity.
Burridge, a technical production manager, had managed 25 quarries by just 22 years old. Not only is she representing the women in a male-dominated sector, she’s also championing the case for age equality and diversity too.
Though she is only in her early twenties, Burridge replaced a man who was of retirement age. Even though her staff are mostly older men, Burridge has had no problem in integrating with and leading her staff.
There were more success stories in 2019 too. Later on in the year, Todd Scanlon won the prestigious “UK’s Best Apprentice” award from On The Tools. Thirty-year-old Scanlon has Down’s Syndrome, but this has proven to be no obstacle for him on his journey to forge a career.
Scanlon has always wanted to work in scaffolding, and after talking to a local company and showing his determination, Scanlon has not only become a permanent worker on their team but has been voted the UK’s best apprentice 2019.
Scanlon is a valued member of the team. His boss commented that he is hard-working, enthusiastic, polite, and the customers love him. Taking Scanlon on as a member of the team wasn’t any cause for concern for Coles Scaffolding, and the apprentice has more than proven his skill and willingness to learn over and over again. What more could an employer ask for from his workforce?
Martyn Coles, Todd’s employer, said of the win: “I think it’s mainly because it is thought people with a disability shouldn’t be in our industry.
“He’s just shown that you can do it with the right guidance. He’s just a likeable guy.”
As we head into 2020, we’re sure to see more and more examples of diversity within trade roles. And this, says Richard Walker from rubbish removal experts Skip Hire, is exactly what these industries need:
“For too many years the industry has suffered with a negative perception and reputation creating a stigma that has acted as a barrier to entry to a more diverse talent pool of workers.
“As innovation and technology play its part in modernising ways of working in the sector, together with schemes such as apprenticeships, we’re not only seeing a more diverse workplace, but a more talented, skilled, and varied workforce.”
We’ve seen so much success across trade jobs in 2019. No doubt we’ll see even more throughout 2020!
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