Based at Portable Offices’ Derby depot, Amy works as an electrician for one of the UK’s leading providers of portable buildings – working alongside Contracting Electrical Supervisor, Dan Maddox where the team works on installations the length and breadth of the UK.
But what makes a 27 year-old girl opt for a career in a male-dominated trade? For Amy it felt like the most natural thing in the world, as she is the third generation of her family to work in the trades sector. She said: “My granddad was a joiner and my dad was an electrician and right from the age when I could first hold a screwdriver, I would help my dad with jobs around the house including building a porch at the age of six.
“I have always been a practical person and love the challenge of electrical work; it is a great trade for keeping you on your toes.”
But it wasn’t her first trade of choice. When Amy first left school she went to college to learn landscape gardening but as it was a three day a week course, she started helping out a local electrician on the other two days and then gave up the landscape gardening and joined him as an apprentice. She then went to college to study as an installation electrician.
After a couple of jobs working for other companies, Amy joined Portable Offices’ Derby depot 18 months ago and started to work alongside Dan Maddox, the company’s electrical supervisor. He said: “Amy is a tremendous worker with a real ‘can do’ attitude she sets a high standard for both quality and quantity with both the rest of our workforce and our vast array of contractors.
Amy is really adaptable and has come on in leaps and bounds over the past few months. She is well organised and capable and fits in really well. She sometimes gets a few questionable looks from the other trades when she arrives on site, but she soon allays any concerns about her ability to ‘’keep the pace’’
In fact, just one per cent of the UK’s electricians are women but there is a growing interest from females in taking up work in the trades.
Amy enjoys the variety of work, visiting Portable Offices’ sites around the UK. She said: “It is great being part of the team and we can be working on the installation of school buildings in London one day and then on a retail unit the next or on a marketing suite for a housing developer in Leeds, there’s lots of variety.
“When you’re on a large contract, you’ve got plumbers, carpenters and other trades around you and you have to keep your side working and keeping pace, there’s no time to mingle and scarcely time for a cup of tea.”
Passing her inspection and testing 2395 exam is a mark of significant achievement for anyone, it is a tough exam – the pass rate is just 19 per cent.
Mike Roper, Elm Training Services Assessor and Examiner, commented: “Since we’ve been established some 12 years or so, I can only recall one other female passing the exam, so Amy is in the minority. It is an achievement for any electrician – male or female.”
Amy commented: “It was a real challenge – 10 days of hard work and revision. I was over the moon to pass all of my exams, now I will be able to sign off any electrical work. My family are all really proud.”
Portable Offices has a number of apprentices across the UK and is a supporter of the Modular & Portable Buildings Association Apprenticeship Scheme which aims to encourage young people into construction trades.