Championing tradeswomen: Painter and decorator, Tricia Field, shares her story and insights
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This follows a report by My Local Toolbox regarding the fact that more homeowners are specifically looking to hire female tradespeople than ever before.
Tricia who runs St Albans Decor specialises in painting and decorating after full house refurbishments, and she’s also an expert at spray painting cabinets.
We asked what motivated her to get into the trade, Tricia replied: “I found it hard to settle in any job when I was younger, I kept going from job to job not really knowing what I wanted to do. At the time there weren't female painters and decorators or tradeswomen! So it really wasn't an option.”
“I always remember my mum doing our decorating when I was really little, and I wanted to do it, but didn't know then I could do it for a career. I find it hard staying in one place and get itchy feet if I have to! So working in an office environment or even being indoors for too long makes me twitchy. I need to keep on the go!”
How did you get into the trade? Tricia said: “I started by just doing my own decorating and for friends. Just because I enjoyed it, and then a course came up for women at Oakland college in St Albans so I thought I would give it a try.”
“I really took to it. I then started by delivering leaflets in the local area and carrying my ladders to jobs, starting with small jobs mainly the ones no-one else wanted. But this is how you get experience. I did this until I had enough money for my first van.”
“This was 30 years ago!”
“I then went from just doing rooms to full house renovations and then onto working with other decorators to do larger builds. I then set up my little studio to keep the dust away from my paintwork when I was painting kitchens on building sites and this took off.”
“I now just paint kitchens and take on the odd house renovation just because I enjoy the banter on site and love seeing a house being turned into a home and being completed. It's also fun to work as a team with other decorators.”
Describing a typical day's work, Tricia said: “My days change from day to day and I typically work seven days a week but I take time off when I need to and when my jobs are completed. Each day is different which is why I think it suits me. I could be in the studio one day then at a customers house the next and then collecting or delivering the doors. The next could be arranging materials and doing paperwork or I might be on a building site rubbing down woodwork getting it ready to spray or painting a house.”
Tricia said one of the benefits of being a self employed tradeswoman “is the flexibility it gives me around childcare and the school holidays. Most of my customers understand the school runs and we all work around each other. I can also understand the demands on a home when painting a kitchen or home and I try to keep the disruption to a minimum.”
Are there any advantages about being a female painter and decorator over your male competitors? “I think being female the only advantage these days is that some elderly people feel safer with a woman. But it's pretty equal as far as anything else goes and most people go from recommendations, equality has come a long way in my time.”
Talking about whether she’d recommend aspiring women to enter the trades industry Tricia said “I would definitely recommend other tradeswomen to pursue a career in the trades industry. There are many more roles now for us, it’s what you make of it. Put in the hard work and it will pay off.”
“If you are looking to get into this I would start by getting some training in, there are lots of courses available now, and then try and then get yourself an apprenticeship.”
“For anyone starting on this path, practice practice practice. Work hard, be honest, put the hours in and most of all enjoy it.”
Hopefully Tricia’s insight into the trade will encourage aspiring women to consider a career as a painter and decorator.
The original report regarding the rising demand for female tradespeople can be found at Mylocaltoolbox.co.uk.