Leicester College Blog

Building a new career in construction


According to the Construction Skills Network (CSN), the body which provides insights into the UK construction industry, output will grow by an annual average rate of 4% from the end of 2020 to the end of 2025 for the East Midlands, with private housing expected to have the fastest sector growth.

So it seems that Deborah Powell made a good choice when she decided to make a career change and join the construction industry.

In 2019, during Women in Construction Week, Deborah attended a construction taster session at Leicester College as part of the scheme ‘Women in Construction’ managed by Leicester City Council. The scheme involved qualified tradeswomen delivering a range of day courses at the College’s construction department. The taster session covered skills including:

  • bricklaying
  • carpentry
  • painting
  • plumbing
  • plastering

The partnership scheme with the Council aims to encourage more women into the construction industry as well as recruit apprentices onto construction courses at Leicester College.

Becoming an apprentice

Having enjoyed the Women in Construction taster courses, Deborah was inspired to make a career change and decided to begin a carpentry apprenticeship at Leicester College. This was a big decision for Deborah who had had a career in an entirely different industry for the last 20 years.

After researching the two-year apprenticeship course and seeing what the College had to offer, Deborah felt ready for the change and a new challenge.

The apprenticeship allowed Deborah to work as part of the team at Leicester City Council, carrying out site carpentry tasks in houses all over Leicester. Deborah found the job to be very varied and loved learning something new.

Deborah commented on the course: “As a mature student, I was really focused on success and always worked proactively when I was completing college work. The learning side was really manageable and I could ask for support which was always available to me.”

And looking to the future, Deborah says: “My next steps, now that I’m qualified, is to carry on working for the Council, hopefully securing a permanent position when my contract comes to an end.”

Commenting on the Women in Construction scheme, Elaine Clarke, Operational Development Supervisor/Craftwomens Support Group at Leicester City Council added: “If you’re thinking of a change in career but not sure if construction is right for you, or if you just want to learn a new skill, Women in Construction Week is a great place to start. It’s free and includes half day taster courses in plumbing, painting and decorating, tiling and carpentry.”

National Apprenticeship Week 2022 runs from 7-13 February and is followed by Women in Construction Week from 14-18 February at Leicester College, Freemen’s Park Campus (LE2 7LW).

Find out more about the College’s Apprenticeship Fair and more details on the Women in Construction scheme.

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