Stockport College is working to close the gender gap in joinery apprenticeships and is providing Stockport Homes’ repair service with its first female joiners.
Two young women, Jenny Cooper and Gabriela Bohajczuk, were top picks from 34 applicants for Stockport Homes apprenticeships, because of their preparation in joinery manchinery, tools, maths and woodwork.
Jenny, 19 from Romiley, was the first female joiner in Greater Manchester Colleges’ Group Competition earlier this year. She said:
I only meet the challenges of being female in a traditionally male dominated industry when I try to show men what to do. My dad’s so proud of me; he’s still buying me new tools.”
The two women because interested in trades through their grandfathers, with Gabriella’s a former employee of wooden container supplier JP Toolboards of Hazel Grove and Jenny’s the former owner of do-it-yourself store, The Handyman in Romiley, where she still works at the weekend.
Gabriella, 24 from Mellor, was approached by Stockport College staff after seeing her talent whilst completing a Level 2 course in furniture building. She has since completed a Level 3 in site joinery, which involves timed tasks and a maths test under the guidance of tutors with industry expertise. Gabriella said:
My advice to other girls thinking of going into this type of career is to work hard, concentrate and do what is asked of you. As soon as everyone gets to know you and what you can achieve, other people don’t treat you any differently.”
Both received free toolboxes thanks to Stockport College’s network, on receiving the news they had secured the three-year apprenticeship, which involves four days of paid learning on the job as part of Stockport Homes’ Repair 1st Team, and one day of gaining skills in College.
Jenny will broaden her skills carrying out repair work on empty homes during her joinery apprenticeship. Gabriella will do bespoke work in public buildings such as working on the hundred-year-old doors and locks at Stockport Town Hall.
Stockport Homes’ Operations Manager, Carl Graham, said:
We are delighted that both Gabby and Jenny were successful in obtaining a 3-year apprenticeship with Stockport Homes and the Repair 1st Team.
“In the new role, they will both continue attending Stockport College whilst working with the Repair 1st Team full time to progress their education and practical skills within their chosen trade. It really is an exciting time to be welcoming 2 female Apprentice Joiners into Stockport Homes in this predominantly male dominated industry.”