Back in 2010 just 10% of workers within the construction industry were female. Things have moved on from then and now 30% of the construction workforce are made up of woman, and for one Borders College electrical student, this has come as no surprise.

24 year old Niesha Clark, from Galashiels, is currently studying on the Electrical Installation Modern Apprenticeship programme, run by Borders College, and believes woman can do just as good a job as their male counterparts when it comes to being on the tools. The single mum-of-two, who works for CC Electrical, Galashiels, has been working as a trainee electrician for 2.5 years after initially studying at College for 2 years.

On leaving school Niesha worked as a carer with Encompass for 2 years, before going on to study level 4 Introduction to Engineering and level 6 Electrical Engineering at Borders College. While studying on the electrical course, Niesha did her work placement with CC Electrical, under the supervision of her lecturer and owner of the company Mark Catto.

The apprenticeship programme was a great way for Niesha to learn the trade, while also working and making a wage. Having been a student beforehand, she was familiar with the excellent facilities on offer and the knowledgeable staff on hand to help so enrolling on the course was never a doubt.

After collaborative working with training partners and employers, the Electrical Installation Modern Apprenticeship programme was adjusted to help support contractors in the Scottish Borders and surrounding areas.

With a mix of junior and adult apprentices, the course is delivered in a traditional apprenticeship style, as well as incorporating a distance learning element, and a new online delivery system was set up to accommodate this.

Niesha is very enthusiastic about her work and loves the job she does.

Niesha commented:

“There are more and more females coming in to the construction trade and my message to any woman out there who are interested would be, if you fancy learning a trade, go for it! This course has been very beneficial to me and the set up allows me to work full-time, while attending College 1 day every 2 weeks. The facilities and staff are great at Borders College and the support I have received has been excellent. I also feel, as an adult apprentice, I am more committed to learning.”

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Neisha’s employer and lecturer Mark Catto of CC Electrical commented:

“While teaching Niesha at Borders College I could see a lot of potential for her. I took her initially on work placement but was impressed with her quality of work and her keenness to learn more. This evolved into work as an electrician’s mate on a part time basis, and with the introduction of the adult trainee course at Borders College, she now looks forward to a rewarding career.

“Customer feedback has also been extremely positive, with a lot of people commenting how great it was to see a female electrician.”

Niesha hopes to complete her studies at Border College and become a fully qualified electrician and, maybe one day, own her own electrical business.

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