From education to employment

Trade Roles: The Need for Diversity and Equality

Society has move on in so many ways in the last 35 years. Take gender roles, for example. Sky News reported that in 1984, 42 per cent of people believed women should be the homemaker, and men ought to be the breadwinners. But 35 years later, in 2019, only eight per cent of people still held on to this thought.

Diversity means much more than just gender, of course. From race to religion, workplaces are opening their doors and removing obstacles that have been wrongly placed before people. And, as we can see from these trade job success stories, companies are witnessing the benefits.

22 and managing 25 quarries

Emily Burridge enjoyed fantastic success in her trade job, the BBC reported in 2019. 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.

A technical production manager, Burridge had led 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.

Winning Apprentice of the Year

2019 was full of success for trade jobs. Later 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.

Scalon’s boss spoke on how he is a valued member of the team. He’s 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?

“I think it’s mainly because it is thought people with a disability shouldn’t be in our industry,” Martyn Coles, Scanlon’s employer, said of the win.

“He’s just shown that you can do it with the right guidance. He’s just a likeable guy.”

Building a better industry

We’re hoping to see even more diversity and equality among trade jobs as we move into 2020. 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.”

These stories are just a small snapshot of the success enjoyed across trade jobs. No doubt we’ll see even more throughout 2020!

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