Kelly Campbell is working for builder and developer Seddon on its Slater Street site after completing a five-week Prepare for Work course with Aspire Housing.
Kelly, who is one of three women tradespeople on the site, was fascinated with construction from a young age, but she was told it was a man’s world and she should find a different path.
After attending an Aspire Housing jobs fair she discovered a route into the industry via a PM Training traineeship, and she jumped at the chance.
The 21-year-old is now learning her trade as a painting and decorating trainee while helping Seddon to construct Baskeyfield House, an apartment complex for over 55s in Slater Street, Middleport.
Kelly, from Blurton, said: “I’m learning on the job and getting paid at the same time, it’s perfect for me.
“At school I got my GCSEs but I messed around a lot in my life and I dropped out of college.
“I soon realised I needed to get some sort of qualification and sort my life out.”
Aspire Housing helped Kelly enrol on a traineeship after completing a five week Prepare for Work course, exploring all her work options. She started work experience with PM Training in October 2014.
Just a few months later she was employed by Seddon, and is one of seven apprentices and trainees working on Baskeyfield House, being constructed by Seddon on behalf of Sanctuary Group.
She added: “When I was younger, I’d asked a few people for advice about getting into construction, but being a girl I’d been told it was never going to happen.
“PM Training made it possible, they have so many contacts with great companies and that was what I needed to get a start in the industry.
“It all happened so quickly for me, I turned my life around in a couple of months.”
Seddon’s senior site manager at Baskeyfield House, Malcolm Walasiewicz, said: “There is a shortage of tradespeople in the industry and I know there are plenty of young people who want to get into construction.
“The opportunities are there, and Kelly has shown that with a bit of determination and motivation you can grab those chances.”
Will Nixon, Chief Executive of PM Training, said: “Our partnership with Seddon is great news for all involved, ensuring training and apprenticeship opportunities remain in the local area.”
Emma Dempster, Project Skills Co-ordinator- NSAfC for Seddon, who has worked closely with Kelly, said: “Kelly is following in the footsteps of female role models on the Slater Street site and just like them is helping to change the perception that construction isn’t just a job for the boys.
As a female working within construction it is great to see more women coming into the industry”
Kelly joins two female construction workers in the painting and decorating team, both of whom completed apprenticeships with Seddon.