Calls for more girls to learn a trade or take up a career in construction

  • Roisin Gauson went to meet some female professionals who are paving the way across the islands

The Channel Islands construction industry is calling for more girls to consider careers in the area.

A survey by the Construction Industry Training Board found that 8% of 16 to 18-year-olds would see it as a dream career - and of that just 3% were girls.

Construction businesses in the islands are facing growing problems when it comes to recruiting younger islanders, but hope new courses will inspire the next generation.

Currently, there are seven female apprentices in Guernsey and seven in Jersey on construction-based courses.

Les Quennevais School in Jersey has seen high interest from their female students when it comes to construction, with 57% of students studying Design, Engineer Construct being girls. Katie Ferreira, Head of DEC at Les Quennevais School, said: "The impact is huge and we feel really proud here at Les Quennevais to have such a big cohort of girls studying DEC and wanting to pursue careers in the construction industry."

These new skills being offered in schools have seen changes begin to appear in the workplace. A third of all technical staff at CCD Architects in Guernsey are women.

Antoinette Fooks, who is a Chartered Architectural Technologist for the company, said: "It's really good I think it's really healthy.

"We get to bounce ideas because men and women are different, so we have different ideas and different views on things."

Antoinette Fooks, who is a Chartered Architectural Technologist at CCD Architects in Guernsey. Credit: ITV Channel

Esther Male is also an architect and says she has noticed a small shift in representation since she started her career.

She said: "When I started in the industry there were very few women.

"Certainly now in the world of architecture, there are more women in the industry and on the technical side particularly.

"But I would say I haven't seen any change on building sites - so in the wider construction industry there hasn't been an increase in women I don't believe."

Professionals want to build on female representation in the stereotypically male-dominated industry by showcasing the rising number of apprenticeships available in the islands.

Scarlett Ball is currently working on her plumbing apprenticeship and wants to encourage more girls to give it a go.

She said: "There has to be some point in this industry that things are going to change and maybe that point is now.

"If you want women to get into the trade, then you yourself have to make that step and you have to make the change."

Scarlett Ball is training to be a plumber. Credit: ITV News

It is becoming more common for islanders to switch careers, tackling more hands-on industry.

Briony Price ditched her plans to be a primary school teacher, to become one of the few female plumbers in Guernsey.

She said: "I never wanted to work in an office or do something 'normal'. My Dad was a builder so I spent a lot of time as a kid on building sites.

"I heard of one other female plumber over here so I thought if somebody gave her a job then they'd give me a job and 27 years later I'm still plumbing and now run my own company with a couple of others."

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