A new website aiming to promote women working in the trade industries is launching at the start of September.
www.gethertrade.com, which has received start-up funding from Virgin, will be the first online directory listing only female traders allowing users of the site to search via location, trade (electricians, carpenters, builders, plumbers etc) and eventually via ratings once the site is more established.
The initiative is the brainchild of 32 year old gas engineer Natasha Clark-Withers who chose a career in trade after struggling to get the media job she originally studied for. 'Mum and dad said "If you want to move out we'll help you get together a deposit but you need to get a full time job that you're going to stick at. So I looked at the Times 25 Best Companies to work for and British Gas were there. I'm 6 years down the line as one of their engineers and it's still great.'
A study by Direct Line for Business last year revealed a growing demand for females working in the trade industries, with 29% of UK adults saying they would prefer to hire a woman to work on their home plumbing, electricals and building projects if given the choice. Spurred on by her clients who mirrored this preference she saw a gap in the market for a site that promoted females, gave them a space to showcase their businesses and acted as a platform to encourage trade as a career choice.
As well as a free to search directory of quality tradespeople (anyone with a trader profile will be vetted and their accreditations checked) the site will feature advice on how to get into the trades, an industry that's been stuck at a tiny 1% female intake for well over a decade.
Setting her sights on the future of the trade industries and female representation in them, Clark-Withers also plans to get girls thinking about a trade career from a young age. 'Kids have to decide at 14 whether they want to do GCSEs or go into work. I could never sit in an office and just do desk work and I think there's probably a lot of girls at school now thinking the same. They just don't know it's something they could go into, there's a barrier there. I wish I'd known it was an option for me when i left school.' Running workshops in schools and colleges she hopes to dispel the myths and get the next generation excited about learning skills and empowering them to forge a lasting career in a trade.
'It really is a skill for life.'
www.gethertrade.com launches September It is initially free to list as a tradesperson on the site and will always be free to search. For more information please contact Natasha@gethertrade.com Get Her Trade will be at the Build Show at the Birmingham NEC in October.