Welwyn Garden City's Victoria on life as a newly-qualified electrician
PUBLISHED: 10:00 23 June 2019
A Welwyn Garden City woman has spoken about life as a new electrician, after a bursary helped her gain the qualifications she needed in what is still a male-dominated trade.
Victoria Partridge received a £350 bursary from the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting to support her in her new career as an electrician.
38-year-old Victoria has started in the electrical industry later in life after spending time working abroad and in the signalling department for railways. With a keen interest in doing hands-on work, she decided to retrain as an electrician to utilise her problem-solving skills and aptitude for the technical aspects of the job - coupled with her enjoyment of being out and about and doing physical work.
Victoria spoke to the Welwyn Hatfield Times about her experiences so far.
"It was pretty tough finding a job, a lot of people weren't interested - it's about who you know not what you know," she said.
"It is strange, people do look twice but most people have been quite nice and pleased - I've had quite a positive response so far.
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"The scariest thing has been driving and parking the big van."
The bursary scheme is part of NICEIC's wider 'Jobs for the Girls' campaign which aims to educate women on the opportunities available to them in the electrical trade.
Victoria added: "The bursary from NICEIC will be a huge help towards the funding of the many courses necessary to gain my qualifications. The electrical industry is hugely varied, particularly as we head into the future.
"There are so many areas you can choose to specialise in if you wish.
Paul Collins, communications manager at NICEIC, said: "The electrical industry faces a huge skills gap in the future and our research shows that just one in every 100 electricians is female.
"By highlighting the opportunities that exist in the sector, we can address the skills gap directly and show that becoming an electrician is not just a job for the boys."
NICEIC is committed to encouraging more women into the electrical industry through its Jobs for the Girls campaign. Applications for the 2020 Jobs for the Girls bursary will open in spring next year.
For more information about the campaign and the bursary scheme, visit niceic.com/jobsforthegirls.