STACEY Chapman probably doesn’t see herself as a champion of any great feminist cause.
But the 17-year-old apprentice is in something of a minority even in the 21st century – a woman making her career in the still predominantly male construction industry.
Stacey, who comes from Grantham, is a CAD Technician Apprentice with FP McCann, the UK’s largest manufacturer and supplier of precast concrete solutions.
As an apprentice with the company she is also currently studying with T3 Training & Development, the South Yorkshire based training organisation that offers a free, intensive fast track development programme to deliver apprentices into the role of Structural Technicians within the construction industry.
FP McCann have invested heavily in design and draughting apprentices over the last six months and they have recruited six through T3 Training & Development and many more for other areas of the business.
Stacey is the only female technical apprentice they have managed to employ as they continue to address the issue of attracting the widest range of applicants.
Stacey’s studies with T3 are preparing her to use software’s such as AutoCAD and Tekla to create 2D and 3D precast structural general arrangement and reinforcement details in preparation for production.
But she is also finding that her time with T3 is helping her to break down any potential gender barriers.
“I haven’t been treated any differently to any of the other apprentices on the course which I think has played an important role in also being accepted by the rest of the class,” she says.
“I am not the only female in this group of apprentices either which is good – though we are still outnumbered!
“I have enjoyed doing my 10-week training block towards the beginning of my apprenticeship as I now feel like I can go to my employer and have an idea of what I am doing and what is expected of me once I return.
“I also enjoyed meeting all of the other apprentices from other sites and other companies.”
Stacey explains that she chose an apprenticeship within construction because she felt it was an industry that was always growing, so in the long term she felt it would be a safe and secure industry to be working in as buildings are always being designed and modified.
And although she doesn’t see herself as a role model, she does believe that other girls should consider taking her lead.
“I do think that other girls should look further into the construction industry instead of passing it by because they feel the majority of people interested are of the opposite gender,” she says.
“I think girls should take this industry as an option because I am enjoying using AutoCAD, Revit and Tekla, and I feel like other females are missing out on the opportunity of learning something interesting and rewarding.
“I decided to apply for an apprenticeship as I wanted to gain the experience of being in a working environment while learning and gaining my qualification.
“Now, when I have completed my course, I’m hoping to continue onto working towards a HNC in construction.
“I would like to develop my career from being an apprentice CAD Technician to becoming a full qualified CAD Technician.”
The teams behind T3 have decades of experience in Structural Design, Construction, Project Management, Steelwork and Reinforced Concrete Detailing.
It was launched over 12 months ago when founder Andy Adams, spotted within his own company, specialist structural detailing and BIM consultancy T3 UK, a massive skills gap and lack of formal training for young structural technicians who were ready to take their place in the industry.
T3 was launched to fill the void in what is an industry wide problem and it is now attracting students from across the UK who are coming to Barnsley to take advantage of a groundbreaking new approach to training, delivering vocational training alongside academic work as part of a full apprenticeship programme.