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Apprenticeship with LiveWest allows Orla to achieve career aspirations

Category: LiveWest, Apprenticeship Scheme, Women in Engineering, Future women in STEM, LiveWest Apprenticeships, Women in apprenticeships

Early Careers
Our Women in Trades campaign is aimed at encouraging more females into our trade roles as part of our drive to have a diverse workforce
 
 
Orla Gorman

Making a king size bed from scratch to ease the boredom of lockdown persuaded Orla Gorman to pursue a career in trades.

The Bristol-based DIY enthusiast had been sleeping on a mattress on her bedroom floor when she struck upon the idea to make her dream bed.

And her construction project convinced her to seek an apprenticeship so she could continue her passion for all things practical.

Orla, 19, applied to us for a multi-trade technician apprenticeship role and, despite more than 300 people applying for 18 roles, she secured the job.

Orla said: “I have always had a love of practical things and the dream was to find a career which allowed me to use these skills.

“I made a rabbit hutch for my bunnies at the age of 12 and I follow some of the DIY videos on You Tube to make improvements to my bedroom. I just like having a go at things.

“During lockdown, I was sleeping on a mattress on the floor and I decided to get some wood and I made a king size bed for myself. 

“I did a two-year furniture making course at college so I had some basic skills, but it made me proud to make my own bed and I got enormous satisfaction when I finished it.

“I got good grades in my exams at school and I was encouraged by my teachers to do A Levels and go down the academic route. 

“But I wanted to do something with my hands and the thought of doing a sit-down profession did not appeal to me.

“After leaving college, I volunteered at a local furniture shop in Bristol before doing some part-time jobs, including working as a dinner lady at a school and doing some work in a care home.

“But it was always practical work that interested me and this apprenticeship with LiveWest is perfect.”

Orla is from an academic family with her dad working as a social worker and her mum is a clerk to the corporation at the City of Bristol College.

But her parents were fully behind her dream to break into the trades industry.

“My mum spotted the advert on the Indeed website as she thought I might be interested in doing something like this,” Orla added.

“I applied straight away but didn’t think for one minute I would get the job as there were lots of people at the assessment day with more practical experience than me.

“I was really nervous, but everyone was really friendly and put me at ease.

“So when I found out, I was delighted. I went straight to the shop and bought pizza and flowers for my mum for showing me the advert. I was really excited.

“My parents have been really supportive and can see how passionate I am about doing a practical job.

“I have already been out into customer’s homes and I am learning so much every day.

“I really like the fact LiveWest are an ethical organisation who care about their people. 

“They train you and you are paired up with a mentor every day which is a rare thing to have in an apprenticeship. The fact you are getting a qualification and on the job training with a respected organisation is great for me.

“Also the fact that it is multi trades is really good, I have never spotted that sort of apprenticeship before. 

“It is nice to have a go at everything and it will mean I will be able to lots of different jobs in my own home and for my family eventually.”

Orla Gorman trades

According to charity Women on the Tools, less than 2% of people in jobs such as plumbing and construction are women – a figure that has barely changed in the last 40 years.

We have moved to address the issue by launching a Women in Trades campaign designed to encourage more women into its trades workforce.

Of our January intake of new apprentices, two of the five multi-trade positions have been filled by women.

And Orla says we are taking the right steps to tackle the under representation of women in practical trades.

She added: “LiveWest are doing a great job at welcoming women into trades.

“I have seen quite a few women out on the job, and it is great to see women are being encouraged to get into trades.

“There is definitely a change in attitudes in society. It was thought at one time that women can’t do some jobs, but people are now realising that they can.

“People are realising that women are strong and skilled enough to do the same job. It not just men who can lift heavy objects, saw a piece of wood or fix a radiator. 

“It is nice to see it becoming more normal to have women doing trades jobs and actually some customers might like a woman arriving at their home to do a job.

“My advice to any female out there thinking of doing something similar is go ahead and do it.”

For more information on a career at LiveWest, please click here.

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