Emma Nichols is training to become a qualified electrician. She was named TClarke’s apprentice of the year in recognition of her exceptional performance and has also won The Ron Simmonds Construction Trade Apprentice Award. She has “proven to be keen and enthusiastic” in college as well as at her work on various sites. However, her route into construction wasn’t a direct one, as she previously used to work in education and only started her apprenticeship at the age of 25.
“Somehow, I always knew that I wanted to be on a building site. I knew that I didn’t want to be in an office environment, but that I preferred being outside and actually doing something.”
Despite having a great interest for the industry, Emma wasn’t too sure which job role would suit her best. In fact, a lot of people in her environment suggested to try and become an electrician, but she “was too afraid and didn’t want to get electrocuted”.
However, after talking to her Dad, she just decided to give it a go and signed up at JTL, a training provider where potential employers will approach you after your successful application. Within a month, Emma was able to get an interview with TClarke. After joining the company she never looked back. Her favourite part of the job is the challenge of a new task and the responsibility that comes along with it.
“I like having a drawing, working out the best possible routes off it and then obviously seeing the work after you’ve completed it.”
Coming into a male dominated industry has thereby never felt like an obstacle to Emma.
“No one has ever made me feel different. Sometimes you get a little bit of a shocked response because obviously it’s not the norm, but in a way that’s why I do it as well. I have never felt intimidated at all. As long as you got the mind-set that you are no less than everyone else and that you have every right to be there and do the job, there shouldn’t be any problems.”
Her advice to young girls about to finish school is therefore a simple and encouraging one:
“Just go for it. Figure out what it is you really want to do and even if it hasn’t even crossed your mind before, construction is a real option. The outcome you will get from it will be a positive one, from my experience. You might get knocked down a few times but just get back up and keep going.”
For more info on how you could start an apprenticeship like Emma and to register your interest, check out the gov website.