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B&Q sees a five-fold increase in female uptake of DIY workshops

Rising numbers of women are turning to DIY and skilled trades amid the recession, it has been revealed.

They are enrolling on training courses to learn crafts such as plastering, decorating, plumbing and tiling.

Some want to save money by improving their own homes while others are setting up their own businesses after being made redundant or opting for career changes.

DIY workshops across the country organised by B&Q have experienced a five-fold increase in female take up in the last year.

Over 3,200 enrolled in classes to learn skills such as plastering, wall tiling, changing taps and hanging wallpaper in July 2012 compared to 592 at the same point last year. There was a 92 per cent increase between January and July this year alone - up from 1,698.

A B&Q spokeswoman said: 'Whether it's to save money, avoid being ripped off or to just increase confidence around the home, women are skilling up.'

Statistics show that women are also embarking on training to allow them to enter the male dominated skilled trades sector.

JTL, the leading training provider to the building services sectors, has seen a five-fold increase in demand from women apprentices.

Just six women signed up for plumbing or electrical apprenticeships in 2001 compared to 30 in 2010. And around 600 women are currently registered with the Gas Safe Register, which means they can legally carry out gas work. In April 2009, the figure was around 500.

Meanwhile UK Trades Training, based in South Shields, had just one woman turning up for a tiling course in 2004. It now gets up to 30 a year enrolling in training for trades including tiling, plastering, bathroom installation and kitchen fitting. Some women have been made redundant from careers as diverse as banking to events managing or have previous been stay at home mothers who have gone on to set up their own companies.

The National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC), the voluntary regulatory body for the electrical contracting industry, launched a Jobs for the Girls campaign in January 2011 aimed at encouraging more women into the industry.

A spokesman said: 'There definitely seems to be more interest since we started the campaign. A lot more people say they are taking on women - they've got a woman employee or have taken on a female apprentice.

'That certainly wasn't there a year or so ago.'

Source : Sarah Harris – Daily Mail

18 August 2012
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