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Local construction apprentice shows the way for women

A female apprentice with skills in plastering, plumbing and joinery is setting a prime example of the wide range of opportunities for women in the workplace this International Women’s Day.
 
Knowsley resident Susan Thompson (27) works as an apprentice for Vivark and Knowsley Housing Trust (KHT), which are both part of the First Ark Group.
 
When Susan was younger, she wasn’t sure where she wanted her career to go – she tried hairdressing and dance, but it wasn’t really for her. She then made the decision to go down the construction route and sign up for a plastering course in college.
 
She joined Vivark in 2015 as a multi-skilled apprentice, which gave her the opportunity to take up a career in plastering, while also trying her hand at joinery and plumbing at the same time.
 
Susan was also committed to continuing her education while working as an apprentice for Vivark and attained further qualifications by attending college one day a week. Vivark immediately recognised her hard-working attitude and willingness to learn and decided to sponsor her to complete a NVQ Level 3 joinery course, which has given her a competitive edge in the jobs market.
 
Susan currently works as a handy person and assessor at Vivark Care and Repair, the not for profit service provided by Vivark on behalf of Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council. This service installs minor adaptations to homes in Knowsley including handrails, grab rails and steps to ensure that residents can feel safe and secure in their homes.
 
With women making up only 11 per cent of the construction workforce and just one per cent of workers on construction sites, Susan is setting the example that this industry is crying out for more female representation, and that women are able to do absolutely anything they put their minds to.
 
While speaking about her experience of her apprenticeship, Susan said: “I’ve really enjoyed my experience of being an apprentice for Vivark. During my time on a number of teams, I have picked up so many new skills, which I am happy to say has led me to getting a full time role with Vivark Care and Repair.

"It may have been a bit unusual back in the day for women to take up a trade that some would have said was for men, but in 2018 this is not an issue at all, which just shows how far things have progressed in society.”

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