Capsel apprentices set for success


Two female apprentices are challenging the lack of gender diversity in construction by starting work with Monmouthshire-based home and maintenance company, Capsel.

According to construction union UCCAT, women make up just 11% of the entire construction industry workforce. On building sites themselves, it is estimated that 99% of workers are men. But Tracy Riggs (plasterer) and Catherine Campbell (plumber) are smashing the status quo to become the first female apprentices to work for Capsel.

After spending many years working as a purchase ledger, Tracy decided to focus on a new career path in the construction industry.

“I studied for a year at Colleg Gwent and my tutor thought I was showing good potential – he motivated me to develop my skills. I really enjoy plastering as in a short space of time you can totally transform how a room looks. You need to show a good sense of attention to detail and a steady hand.

“Capsel were open minded enough to see I had potential and to choose me for the role. It was amazing that from so many people who applied for the apprenticeship, I got the job!”

Catherine worked in retail for about 12 years before deciding she’d had enough. She was always interested in trade work, particularly plumbing, and so decided to start training at college. Catherine now does a week in college and then four days on the job. She says: “It’s great making people happy at the end of the day. We make things better for people. The guys I work with are great – they are really helpful. It’s a supportive environment, with some friendly banter!”

MHA’s Deputy Head of Building Services, Becky Oliver, said:

“It’s great to see more females wanting to work in the construction industry. Construction has traditionally been stereotyped as man’s work, but more and more women are entering this challenging field and succeeding. They are proving women have the skills and are equally as capable and as efficient doing the same work as men.

“Catherine and Tracy have been working with MHA since September last year. They are both doing really well and it’s fantastic to see their skills and confidence growing.  Everyone who’s worked with Catherine and Tracy has given positive feedback. They’re not afraid of hard work and I am sure both are set for a very successful career in the construction industry.”

John Kegan MHA’s CEO said: “I believe we have had real success here, particularly in elevating the role of women in property services, traditionally an area dominated by males. Many key roles are now occupied by women, and the three apprentices currently with the MHA group are female. We continue to offer flexi-leave and other benefits, such as sponsored training, where appropriate, way over and above the private sector, to allow staff to have the full benefit of both their private and professional lives.”