Three years after Lincolnshire care-worker Jess Wells walked into a construction careers event, she’s now the first woman to have achieved a highly specialised construction qualification.
Jess (29) was a care worker in 2018 when she attended an event aimed at encouraging young people into the industry as part of Lincolnshire Construction Week, supported by CITB and local businesses and trade associations.
After witnessing a talk at the event given by Lincoln-based surface preparation specialists The Preparation Group, Jess approached the company afterwards and was later taken on.
Jess said: ‘I enjoy journeying around the country with the people I work with, there’s never a dull moment. I’m onsite with guys using high-tech machinery. My goal is to be a site manager to mentor and train more females. It doesn’t matter if you are male or female you need to love what you do to deliver results.’
However, Jess has run up against issues faced by women working in a sector dominated by men, such as a lack of suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) and work clothing, and even a recent site not having women’s welfare facilities or female toilets.
Jess’s NVQ was assessed by the Resin Flooring Association (FeRFA), the not-for-profit trade body representing manufacturers, contractors, and companies in industrial and commercial resin flooring, screeding and surface preparation.
FeRFA confirmed Jess was the first woman to achieve NVQ Level 2 Specialist Concrete Occupations (Construction) – Substrate Preparation and Profiling, handling the equipment with ease and expertise, demonstrating ability and determination.
Jess said: ‘I thought working onsite might be intimidating, but if you’re interested in learning, people will show you how to do things right, help and support you. Go for it’s entirely down to you.’