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Topic Title: Boring I know
Topic Summary: But do you have any views on women in the industry you'd like shared?
Created On: 19 December 2012 01:47 PM
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 19 December 2012 01:47 PM
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Zs

Posts: 3008
Joined: 20 July 2006

Hello,

I have an interview tomorrow. BBC three Counties Radio, I think it is at 1pm and I think the host is named Nick Coffer or similar. I'm about to check all that.

It's one of those 'ladies in the construction industry' things and I am not sure what the bent of it will be. It might just be a bundle of fun but I agreed to attend just in case any girl-power nonsense needs diluting. Don't shout at the radio, shout out from it. Myself ( who disagrees categorically with special courses and opportunities for women in the industry), a lady plumber who specifically markets herself along the pink lines and loves the word 'empower' so watch out for that, and a lady decorator who, in truth I expect doesn't actually give a monkeys...I think she's quite cool but I've only met her once, in the paint shop.

At a guess, one age 40 and one 50 plus (God help me if I got that wrong) and I'm 50. Justine the decorator and I have been knocking around this block for some time. We are both very busy.

My confirmation email says no preparation required just turn up and enjoy. Can you imagine me going into something like this without preparing?

So, as a quick straw poll.

If a woman turned up on your site who had been specifically trained on a course for women only would you bat an eyelid? What kind of standards would you expect?

Does it bother you what gender your electrician/tradesMan. is?

And finally, cos you can bet your bottom dollar this will come up; Do you think that single ladies feel threatened by male trades?

etc.

all views appreciated. You know mine by now....You choose what you do now just get on with it.

Zs
 19 December 2012 02:25 PM
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OMS

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If a woman turned up on your site who had been specifically trained on a course for women only would you bat an eyelid? What kind of standards would you expect?


Personally I wouldn't bat an eyelid - my concern would be that there were aspects of formation, training, experience and insruction that may not have been covered and would almost certainly have been covered in a more "mainstream" training environment - students learn as much from interaction with each other as they do from tutors - take that away or just have the interaction between very similar individuals and the students are diminished by it

I'd expect exactly the same standards in terms of quality of work - as the employer, I'd have marginally different requirements in terms of output to reflect possibly differing circumstances between individuals - but that would be minor and not specifically focused on gender

Does it bother you what gender your electrician/tradesMan. is?


Not really no - quality and competence is far more important

And finally, cos you can bet your bottom dollar this will come up; Do you think that single ladies feel threatened by male trades?


Probably a question for single ladies in general rather than in a discussion on women in construction - are you asking "do single female customers feel threatened by male tradesmen they employ" or are you asking "do single females feel threated by the image of male dominated trades that perhaps stops them entering the construction industry. Both important points, but not neccessarily focused in the same direction.

I think my short answer would be "inexperienced clients often feel threatened by male trades - inexperienced clients probably include a slightly disproportionate number of single females and there are a disproportionate number of male trades(men) " - so yes, i suspect single females do feel threatened by male trades(men). I'm not sure that's a fear or physical problems or one of a fear of being "tucked up". The latter of course not being the sole preserve of male tradesmen


So, will you baking cakes to take along tomorrow ?

regards

OMS

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Failure is always an option
 19 December 2012 02:43 PM
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Zs

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Thanks OMS,

No, not baking. I am home early in order to crochet a Santa hat for the presenter.

Zs
 19 December 2012 03:07 PM
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OMS

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Of course - how foolish of me

Don't shout at the radio, shout out from it.


Yeah - big shout out for the Massive - go, girl -

regards

OMS

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Failure is always an option
 19 December 2012 03:19 PM
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AJJewsbury

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If a woman turned up on your site who had been specifically trained on a course for women only would you bat an eyelid?

To be honest, I'd be surprised if the type of training was even mentioned - of all the people I've employed over the years (as a domestic customer) I've no idea if any of them were degree level educated/apprentice trained/5-day-wonder equivalents/just picked it up over the years. They get offered a cup of tea and a biscuit just the same. If they do the job to an acceptable standard they get paid.

What kind of standards would you expect?

I've no idea. I've failed dismally to accurately anticipate the standards of any "trades" I've employed. While one or two have been good, mostly either the work isn't up to scratch, their interpersonal skills actually offended a builder, or the bill bares not the least resemblance to the "quote". If she could do what she said she was going to do, when she said she'd do it, for the price quoted, she'd be above average to start with. (Apologies to all the decent trades out there!)

Does it bother you what gender your electrician/tradesMan. is?

Not in the least.

And finally, cos you can bet your bottom dollar this will come up; Do you think that single ladies feel threatened by male trades?

It just depends on the individuals. I knew a few 'female engineers' who I'm sure could more than stand their own in any company. Often, I suspect, the 'threat' (especially in term of level commercial playing field) is perceived to be the other way around.

- Andy.
 19 December 2012 03:26 PM
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jcm256

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There was a debate on Young Woman Engineer of the year award, which was something similar. Gender biased. Woman PAT testers (Although spoken to a couple at a dinner) don't know if they are many in that line of work.


http://89.234.63.16/forums/for...R_FORUMVIEWTMP=Branch


http://89.234.63.16/forums/for...atid=5&threadid=38794

http://www.ieepublishing.co.uk...id=38794&enterthread=y
 19 December 2012 03:29 PM
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Delbot321

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I used to work with a female design engineer - she had done a full electrical apprenticeship and all the neccessary qualifications for the position she held and was perfectly competent at her job (same as we all are - strengths and weaknesses). At site meetings people often used to direct the techncial questions at me so I'd just stand back and let her deal with them as they fell under the specialism or project area she was looking after. You could often see a look of surprise in peoples faces initially as they had assumed she was not techncial - however I never witnessed anything less than a professional approach from anyone.

I also had a young lady apply for a position as an Approved Electrican focussing on Inspection & Test work. She'd done the required 2 years at college off her own efferts so she joined the companys 'Adult trainee programm' to compete the second 2 years of an appreticeship covering all aspects of electrical installaion not just testing. There was no difference in expectaion of her than any of her male counterparts through training.

As has already been said I think training needs to be as broad as possible and not very focussed on only some aspects or some niche groups. The focus must remain on ability/competnec to deal with the broad range expectations a trades person will encounter.

Interestingly my Mother (and around 20 of the old ladies in her street) all have their gas appliances serviced by a lady gas fitter. From a sales perspective her unique selling points are: female, local, competitively price, good customer service, hard working single mum to support her family. She has the correct up to date qualifications built on the background of an apprenticeship - no different to the competition other than she is female - but it works for her. I would suspect that there is something in that women are supporting women but weather thats to do with feeling threatended (technically not physically) or just about giving her support would be just speculation.

Personally it makes no diffence to me as long as they know their stuff and from most customers I have spoken to have found it quite refreshing that there are female electricians around.

I think cakes would go down well too - and demonstrate us men know how the oven works
 19 December 2012 03:36 PM
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John Peckham

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I employ people who know their stuff and will get on a do a good job with minimal supervision and not upset my client. In addition they have to fit in with the rest of my team. I would not employ anyone, of either sex, on any sort of campaign mission, or bleating about their "rights" . I would hope they bring something to the team in terms of experience or knowledge and they enjoy working with the other members of the team. If you turn up late or cock up you can expect to have your leg pulled until the next person cocks up regardless of gender or race, although I am not sure how that would square with the equal opportunities police.

There is a lot of old boy prejudice and loutish behavior and language on some sites towards women which is I don't approve of but as the years go by will slowly disappear as more women come in to our industry. I don't approve of special courses and opportunities for women but I do approve of encouraging women to enter our industry. In 10 years I have had only one 2381/2382/2391 female student and there is only one female 2330 student in my class of 21 students so we have some way to go but I don't think I will be alive to see the promised land.

One of my female engineers insists on wearing pink safety boots and a pink high viz on site I think as some sort of statement for the sisterhood but I put up with it because she does a good job and earns me money which is the mission objective.


The only time I have made a special case for women was when tendering to PIR a hospital I said I had a female engineer who could work in areas of the hospital where for reasons of dignity and privacy it would be preferred, sadly I did not get the job as another company tendered a lower price.

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John Peckham

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 19 December 2012 03:57 PM
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OMS

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The only time I have made a special case for women was when tendering to PIR a hospital I said I had a female engineer who could work in areas of the hospital where for reasons of dignity and privacy it would be preferred,


LoL - doesn't that do more to reinforce the stereotypes than break down the glass walls and ceilings, John ?

Regards

OMS

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Failure is always an option
 19 December 2012 04:02 PM
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John Peckham

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OMS

Possibly but that was not the intention. Some religions do not permit men, other than husbands, to look at women in a state of undress even if they have a loop tester in their hand.

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John Peckham

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 19 December 2012 04:40 PM
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normcall

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" to look at women in a state of undress even if they have a loop tester in their hand."

There really is no answer to that, is there?

-------------------------
Norman
 19 December 2012 04:54 PM
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John Peckham

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Best not Norm you could get yourself in all sorts of trouble.

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John Peckham

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 19 December 2012 05:04 PM
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OMS

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Originally posted by: John Peckham

OMS



Possibly but that was not the intention.

Indeed - the law of unintended consequences

Some religions do not permit men, other than husbands, to look at women in a state of undress even if they have a loop tester in their hand.

For sure - although the thought of someone loop testing in a hospital ward full of patients of any gender or religion would worry the hell out of me - regardless of whether there were bumps in the jumper of said person wielding loop tester or not !!





regards

OMS

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 19 December 2012 06:30 PM
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Zs

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Your responses are interesting.

Guys, how often are you asked about your qualifications or to provide copies of your insurance? I am frequently asked about my qualifications (or rather, if I am qualified) and about 4 times a year I have to provide copies of insurance prior to commencing work, the most recent being a garden lighting system.

Delbot, thank you for taking the time to post yours. I can identify completely with two of your paragraphs.

I'll phone a couple of clients later on to see why they invited me to carry out their work for them and if it was a gender biased decision.

Zs
 19 December 2012 06:38 PM
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impvan

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I've no time for special treatment once IN the industry, but there's a dire need for 'special courses' or whatever for girls still at school.

The problem isn't the few girls put off by the thought of the sexism etc; it's the many girls for whom a career in the trades is so far off the radar that you might as well be inviting them to be gaslamp lighters or wooden wheelwrights.

The trades are missing out on a big talent pool (who happen to be female), and instead trying to hammer knowledge and skill into a bunch of bipeds who are assumed to be potential tradesmen by sheer presence of a Y chromosome.
 19 December 2012 07:01 PM
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OMS

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Guys, how often are you asked about your qualifications or to provide copies of your insurance? I am frequently asked about my qualifications (or rather, if I am qualified) and about 4 times a year I have to provide copies of insurance prior to commencing work, the most recent being a garden lighting system.


Probably in slightly different circumstances, but we routinely provide both CV's with qualifications and copies of insurances into bids, pre-quals etc etc.

For certain clients we need to go further and have competency interviews for key staff (or all staff in some cases)

If you take a job with us, we'll usually get to see qualifications at the onset - and we will trumpet new qualifications internally, although we often make no reference to qualifications in much communication.

I suspect people might well ask female tradesmen for them much more often as there is without doubt an enduring belief in a number of client sectors that competence is a function of gender - so called pink jobs and blue jobs are present in many peoples minds, even if only subconsciously.

I've no doubt some of the views here (from the male gender) will be "interesting" set against som the agenda of the broadcast - I wonder if they actually know what questions they are trying to ask.

regards

OMS

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Failure is always an option
 19 December 2012 07:19 PM
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OMS

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The problem isn't the few girls put off by the thought of the sexism etc; it's the many girls for whom a career in the trades is so far off the radar that you might as well be inviting them to be gaslamp lighters or wooden wheelwrights.


I'll go along with that - we had a girl come to us from a local school for two weeks work experience. Very focused on a career in HVAC engineering (more focused than was good for her I think, actually).

It was quite clear from conversation that she was in a significant minority at school for even thinking about engineering as a career - and when I started tallking about apprenticeships and then a degree in engineering as a longer but possibly more diverse route, even this lass hadn't given the apprenticeship side of things much of a thought.

So do we need positive discrimination, education and opportunity for real tradesmen and real engineers to influence female school leavers - for sure we do - because no one else seems to do it.

Do we need very specific criteria for girls/women to get trained in "girls only clubs" - I think not, personally - better to provide schemes with many more apprenticeships available - and then encourage both the boys and the girls to consider it as a career

regards

OMS

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 19 December 2012 07:20 PM
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peteTLM

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Originally posted by: Zs

If a woman turned up on your site who had been specifically trained on a course for women only would you bat an eyelid? What kind of standards would you expect?

Id expect them, or anyone else to do a good job. I would hope that they are there because its something that they wanted to do and have a passion for, not just because they were groomed for it by some special course. Id also hope that they were gthere because they were the best candidate for the job, not because of some biased reverse sexism (against men) just to get a tick in the box.

Does it bother you what gender your electrician/tradesMan. is?

Dont care as long as they know what they are doing. I think it would be somewhat stupid however to find a woman laying bricks, and being confronted with laying hundreds of say 7N solid concrete blocks weighing 2 stone each. Likewise i wouldnt expect to find a 8 stone wet bloke trying to do the same either. It has to fit the persons strengths.

And finally, cos you can bet your bottom dollar this will come up; Do you think that single ladies feel threatened by male trades?

Possibly, but unjustified in my opinion. I think sparks/ engineers/ builders have a certain code of whats right and wrong superior to the general masses.
You donmt see all the accountants rushing out to help someone push a car, open doors for people as a courtesy, and you certainly done hear of estate agents rugby tackling muggers to the ground.


Zs


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 19 December 2012 07:27 PM
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MrOther

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As for the special courses, that would irk. Surely, if a girl wants to do it, then sitting in a group of men and learning to dill with them is as much of education as learning Ohm Law.
 19 December 2012 07:30 PM
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MrOther

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Originally posted by: normcall

" to look at women in a state of undress even if they have a loop tester in their hand."



There really is no answer to that, is there?


Is anyone owing up to the first Electrician fantasy here? My first question is what model is it
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