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Rising numbers of women training in skilled trades

The number of women considering turning to careers in construction trades is surging, according to DIY retailer, B&Q.

The retailer has said that the number of women taking up their DIY workshops across the county has increased five-fold over the last year, with many using them as stepping stones to enrolling on more intensive training courses.

B&Q revealed that more than 3,200 women took up the workshops, covering skills such as plastering, tiling, decorating and basic plumbing in July 2012 – compared to just 592 in July 2011. A spokeswoman for the retailer said that women were increasingly realising that such trades are not the sole provenance of men.

The spokeswoman said, “Whether it’s to save money, avoid being ripped off or to just increase confidence around the home, women are skilling up.”

The Gas Safety Register – the listing of industry-accredited gas fitters – has also seen a rise in the number of women on the list. Around 500 women were legally qualified to carry out gas fitting in work in 2009, but that figure has since risen to more than 600.

Sue Jefferson, from Darlington, is a classic example of how women can flourish in the building trade. The 35-year-old took painting, decorating, tiling and plastering courses after taking voluntary redundancy from he local government job, and now says that business is in great demand.

“It’s mainly women who ring me up,” she said. “They trust another woman to do the work and think that a woman can do a better job than a man because they take more care.”