Manual trade jobs have been around for years and years, however, some of the best-known trades in the UK are suffering from staff shortage.
Part of the reason for this is the lack of women going into this field, with women currently representing only 6% of skilled trade workers in the UK. (Skilled trades include any labour job that requires specific training).
Unfortunately, many of the skilled trades have gained a reputation over time of being masculine professions because of the practical skills they require. This is a shame since many skilled trades offer a fulfilling profession with rewarding work, a good salary and work-life balance, which are highly sought after in many other careers.
To improve inequality in the skilled trades industry, it’s critical that these roles evolve and more women are encouraged to go into the skilled trades. The team at KindWater have done some research into popular trade roles and why more women should pursue a career in this industry.
Examples of Skilled Trades?
Electrician (Average salary: £32,104)
An electrician is someone who installs and repairs the electrical systems and products used in residential, commercial and public homes and buildings. It’s rewarding and well-paid work, perfect for anyone who enjoys using their practical and problem-solving skills. As an electrician, you might be involved in planning the electrical systems for new buildings, installing wiring or control systems, performing maintenance procedures to keep electrical systems in good working order or repairing faulty electrical equipment.
Currently, with 97% of electricians being male, women are massively unrepresented in this industry. There are a few different routes you can take to become an electrician, whether you choose to pursue an apprenticeship or study for the NVQs Levels 2-3 (2356) qualification at a college.
Civil Engineer (Average salary: £31,237)
A civil engineer design, supervise and manage infrastructure and construction projects. Their work will range from small to large scale projects whether that’s managing a bridge repair or the construction of an office block or stadium. It’s exciting and varied work that can branch into many different sectors whether that’s structural, environmental or transportation. If you have a passion for building or design, this could be a great career path for you.
Currently, in the UK, 12.37% of all engineers are women and 46.4% of girls aged 11-14 years old would consider a career in engineering. To become a civil engineer, you will either need to earn a degree in engineering or an equivalent qualification combined with work experience.
Mechanical Engineer (Average salary: £31,049)
Mechanical engineers are involved in the planning and manufacturing of power-producing machines such as electric generators, internal combustion engines, air-conditioning systems, elevators and escalators. As a mechanical engineer, you’ll be required to analyse issues to see how mechanical devices could provide a solution, oversee manufacturing processes, develop and test prototypes of devices and more. Mechanical engineers are expected to have good technical problem-solving and communication skills; it’s a great career for people who are creative and detail-orientated.
Currently, 7.3% of mechanical engineers in the UK are female. You can become a mechanical engineer through gaining a university degree, a college course or an apprenticeship. Some relevant degree courses include mechanical engineering, electromechanical engineering and mechatronics.
Plumber (Average salary: £30,555)
A plumber is someone who installs pipework in homes and businesses. Plumbers also provide maintenance checks and fixtures to ensure plumbing systems are working as they should. They are also sometimes involved in the design work and planning of homes and buildings. It’s hands-on work that requires a lot of practical skills, so is a great option for someone who prefers a more varied career than an office job.
There are several different ways to become a qualified plumber. You can gain the experience and qualifications you need through an apprenticeship or college course such as a Level 2 Diploma in Domestic Plumbing and Heating.
The Benefits of Pursuing a Skilled Trade
- Have the opportunity to earn a good salary
Most trades workers start off at a higher than average salary and if you decide to set up your own business later on in your career, you can expect to earn an above-average salary.
- Many skilled trades offer great career progression
Once you’ve become experienced in a specific trade, your skills will be highly sought after, which will make it easy to progress to higher roles. Eventually, you will even be able to manage your own team and could even set up your own business if you have an entrepreneurial streak in you.
- There’s a high demand for skilled trade workers
Trade workers have skills that will always be in demand since they’re practising skills that no computer can replace. This means that once you’ve got some experience in your chosen trade, you will be able to find stable employment throughout your career.
- A degree isn’t always required
Because of graduate unemployment and student debt, going to university isn’t an appealing option to many people and a lot of school leavers are looking to alternate paths. Many skilled trades do not require a degree. You can often learn the skills you need either through an apprenticeship or internship.
- You’ll get to complete interesting work
Learning a trade gives you the chance to pursue a job in a line of work that you’re personally interested in. A skilled trade involves practical work
- Every day is different
What makes working in a trade exciting to most people is the variety in the work. Each day, you’ll be working on a new project, meeting new clients and learning new things. It’s perfect for anyone
- Work in a sociable atmosphere
Working in a trade, you’ll get to meet a wide range of clients and share your expertise with many different people. You’ll also be working alongside other like-minded people, many of which will become friends for life.
- You’ll gain skills for life
Learning a trade provides you with skills that you will use throughout your life. The practical skills you learn will always be needed and will be useful in your personal as well as professional life too.