A woman in trade reflects on the equality progression in the trade industry

A woman in trade reflects on the equality progression in the trade industry

Emma Jones, a Senior Technical and Planning Manager for LiveWest, reflects on her love for the trade industry and why it’s so important to encourage more women to think about trade careers.

Whilst some stereotypes may lead people to the impression that the trade industry is predominantly for men, Emma reassures that’s not the case and she has been blown away by the support she has received from male trade professionals.

Emma said: “There are so many different elements of trade which people can get involved with. There’s lots of different career choices which I don’t think people are always aware of.

“If you’re thinking about coming into trade, don’t let anything stop you. If you feel quite passionate about it, get involved.

“I joined LiveWest because I want to make a difference. Here, it’s all about the people and the places we create for the communities across the South West.”

After starting her career back in 2004 when there were less women fulfilling a trade career, Emma is proud to see the industry’s progress.

“When I first started out, I think I was the only female in the infrastructure department, which was quite daunting as a 17-year-old straight out of school,” Emma says. “There are all these guys in suits and what do you wear as well? You don’t get taught all of that at school.

“It would be great if more people talk about the trade industry in schools. The trade industry has changed even more since I was at school, and I think it would be great to continue getting more women involved.”

Finding herself having to adapt her style and approach to suit the industry, Emma admits that times were not always easy as a young woman learning trade.

Emma said: “Due to being in a new environment and being one of the very few women on site, when I first started my career, I had to adapt my approach to feel more involved. I felt like I had to make a bit more of an effort.”

From joining the trade industry as a technician and progressing within the South West’s largest housing association as a manager once she joined in 2021, Emma sees the delight in watching the industry become more inclusive.

Emma added: “I feel quite lucky to see all the changes throughout my career. I’m lucky to be where I am because of my passion for my role, and I love it.

“LiveWest has really supported me. Since joining LiveWest I have progressed my professional qualification and I have advanced in my career.

“The work environment is changing. In my team now, I’m managing a male and female whilst being managed by a female. So, there’s four of us and only one male.

“Also, in consultancy one of the things I have noticed is that things have also changed paternity wise. There was a male colleague and he and his wife were struggling so, due to the paternity changes, he was able to get more time off to support her and the family.

“I just thought that was brilliant. I know how much of a family man he is, and it was great to see that things have definitely changed so much from when I left school to now.”

With more progress in equality being made in the trade industry, Emma was delighted to see LiveWest’s Women in Trades campaign, which aims to encourage more women to join the trade industry.

Emma said: “It’s great that we are seeing more women come into the trade industry. It’s quite exciting to be a part of.”

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