Life at Catalyst

A wealth of opportunities for women in trades

By March 9, 2022No Comments

Currently just two per cent of tradespeople in the UK are female, a statistic that has barely changed in 40 years. The trades can offer a hugely fulfilling career to women, yet there remains a gap in the number of women joining the profession.

As part of National Careers Week, we caught up with our colleagues Shai Chaudhri and Lauren Carter to learn more about their experiences and what they’re doing to help redress the balance.

Shai Chaudhri

What’s your role?

I’m a plumber in the Responsive team. I do everyday plumbing for customers who have issues such as a leaky tap, toilet not flushing etc. I’ve been doing the role at Catalyst for three years and before that worked for a contractor.

How did you get into this career?

It came to me really. I’m a very hands-on, physical person, so when I had an opportunity to work with someone and learn more about the trade, I thought it would be good.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I am a real people’s person, so I love the fact that I get to go into customers’ homes and deal with everyday people. I like the response I get from knocking on the door because nine times out of ten they’re expecting a man and not expecting me as a women.
I get satisfaction when I complete the job and customers are grateful for my work. I take great pride in my work and like being able to fix the problem for the customer and make them smile.
I’m also multilingual and can speak Danish, Urdu, Punjab and a little Gujarati and Sawahili which can help with some of the customers I meet, especially some of the women in our sheltered schemes.

What would you say to other women wanting a career in the trades?

Don’t be put off by the stereotypes and be prepared for your work to speak for itself.

What’s next for you?

I believe in a work/life balance. I feel like an asset to the company in my current role and the recognition the customers give me gives me pride. I am enjoying what I am doing so I want to continue to deliver great work.

Lauren Carter

What’s your role?

I’m a Responsive Supervisor.  I currently have a team of seven operatives and it’s my responsibility to ensure that they complete the repairs to the best of standards whilst following all health and safety measures required on a day-to-day basis.

How did you get into this career?

I started my career in the job role of Office Admin for a roofing business six years ago where I gradually took on more responsibility and learnt everything I could within the construction/roofing industry. Within a year I was the contract manager for our largest client where I looked after all the responsive repairs for a local council.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I find when you join any company, they always use the line ‘no day is the same’ and that usually is not 100% the truth. However, within the responsive repairs role no day really is the same due to the different works, tenants and every day on goings. This for me keeps the job enjoyable and continuously interesting.

What would you say to other women wanting a career in the trades?

I would say don’t shy away from what you want and don’t be put off by the lack of women within this industry because right now women in trade roles are becoming more easily accessible and appealing by the year.
We are still living in the unfortunate world where some believe that the trade world is a man’s world but with the right can-do attitude and ambition, we can show that this is not the case.

What’s next for you?

I feel I still have so much to learn over the next few years, so I think the ideal steps for me will be to undertake more training where needed and progress in my current role. When I feel I am ready, I would like to look into the management side of responsive repairs and hopefully successfully progress in a career that I love.